Vaping will be outlawed in Victoria’s smoke-free spaces and e-cigarette advertising banned in shops, under laws to be introduced by the Andrews government within days.
Children won’t be able to buy e-cigarettes or vapes – even those without nicotine – while Victoria’s outdoor dining areas will become smoke and vape free from mid- 2017.
Smokers will also be banned from lighting up within 4m of food served outdoors at pubs and within 10m of food stalls at major events, with $150 fines for anyone who smokes in outdoor dining areas.
The bans will include all outdoor spaces where food is served, including restaurants, cafes, takeaway shops, pubs, festivals and sporting events.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy will on Saturday reveal the Tobacco Amendment Bill, which brings the electronic and water-based smoking devices under existing tobacco laws.
The bill is expected to be introduced to parliament on Tuesday.
“By bringing e-cigarettes into line with all other tobacco products we’re taking action to protect children from potential harm,” Ms Hennessy said.
“Our tough new laws will protect young kids from the risks of e-cigarettes and help de-normalise smoking.”
This means use of e-cigs in cars carrying children is prohibited, as is point of sale advertising and product display in non-speciality shops. Specialty shops and duty-free retailers would also face limitations on product display.
It is believed only about five retailers in Victoria specialise in selling e-cigarettes.
The ACT, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia have regulated against the devices, while the Commonwealth, South Australia and Tasmania are investigating similar laws.
It is already illegal to sell, supply, possess or use e-cigarettes that contain nicotine in Victoria but the new laws would also apply to non-nicotine smoking products.
A spokeswoman for Ms Hennessy said this was necessary because determining whether the device contained nicotine or not required laboratory testing.
The regulations won’t restrict e-cigs from being used as an aid to quit smoking if they are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in the future, the spokeswoman said.
A Cancer Institute of NSW study, which surveyed about 3000 NSW smokers and recent smokers, earlier this week revealed young adults were the biggest users of e-cigarettes and many were smoking the devices for health reasons or because they believed it would help them quit.
The study also showed most young adults using e-cigs were still smoking tobacco.
While Quit Victoria welcomed the move, its director Dr Sarah White said federal laws were still needed to regulate online and print advertising of the devices.
“Most of the regulation of tobacco advertising and marketing happens at a federal level,” she said.
“Victoria and other states have started the ball rolling, and now we need the Commonwealth government to also act to ensure that online and print advertising of e-cigarettes is regulated appropriately.
“What we’ve seen in the states is an explosion of kids in high school using them, anything that will prevent that happening here in Victoria is a good thing.”
Cancer Council Victoria’s Chief Executive Todd Harper said: “What regulation does is help to set very clear community standards particularly in relation to health and safety.”
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