Even more bad news for Australia, but US coalition launches fresh Deeming challenge


Western Australia eyes new vaping crackdown

The state government in Western Australia is planning to add to the woes of the country’s vapers with a set of harsh new restrictions. If enacted, a new law could see vapers fined huge sums for using an e-cigarette in a non-smoking area.

State law in WA is already highly restrictive; it’s against the law to sell anything that resembles a tobacco product, and this has been used to prohibit many vapour products. There’s also the national ban on the sale of nicotine liquids, which forces vapers to import juice using a loophole that permits imports for personal use only. Now legislators have decided that even this isn’t strict enough, and they’re planning another crackdown.

The problem seems to be a state parliament committee led by Labor MLA Janine Freeman, which decided last year that the laws are too lax and not properly enforced. Freeman, working with state health minister Roger Cook, has now pushed for tougher laws. They’re aiming for a complete ban on vaping except in designated smoking areas, and violators are also likely to be charged with possession of nicotine – which carries a fine of up to $45,000.

New challenge to FDA’s Deeming Regs

Efforts to derail the FDA’s disastrous new restrictions on vapour products continue, with a new court case launched last week by the Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition and e-liquid maker Nicopure Labs. The case is an appeal against a previous ruling, and it aims to establish that the Deeming Regulations violate the constitutional rights of vapers and retailers.

Hospital vaping sites achieve “huge reduction” in smoking

Two British health authorities have noticed a sharp fall in the number of people breaking no-smoking laws in their hospital grounds after introducing a simple but effective measure – designated vaping areas.

Ipswich and Colchester NHS trusts – organisations responsible for NHS health services in an area of the country – introduced the vaping areas last March. Since then staff have seen “markedly fewer” people ignoring the No Smoking signs around the hospitals.

British police threaten drivers who vape

The UK’s health services may be increasingly positive about vaping, but the same doesn’t seem to be true of the country’s police force. In an alarming development, traffic officers in the English counties of Sussex and Surrey have warned that, while there’s no law against vaping while driving, it could still potentially attract a fine of £2,500 – and possibly even a driving ban.

According to the two policemen the vapour emitted by an e-cigarette could be enough to interfere with the driver’s vision, and that would leave them open to a charge of driving without due care and attention. They recommend that anyone who vapes in a moving vehicle should leave the window open – something most vapers, who are overwhelmingly former smokers, do anyway.

Stalled NZ vape reforms may be moving again – but where to?

New Zealand vapers have been worried for the last few months, after a planned liberalisation by the previous government was put on ice by Jacinda Arden’s new Labour/Green cabinet. Now there are signs of activity again, as the health ministry scheduled talks with a major respiratory charity to discuss the future of Kiwi vapers.

The problem is that it’s not clear where the new government wants to go on the issue. The last one was keen to legalise nicotine liquids and make harm reduction products more widely available, especially people who can’t order online. Unfortunately the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, which will now discuss regulations and advice with health officials, seems to be taking a precautionary approach; chief executive Letitia O’Dwyer, in a media statement, repeated old lines about a lack of research.

Michigan town plans teenage stings on vape shops

In an attempt to crack down on the largely imaginary scourge of under-age vaping. Muskegon County, MI, will start checking the county’s vape shops to make sure they’re not illegally selling to minors.

Muskegon County outlawed the sale of vapour products to under-18s in December 2015, along with imposing a ban on the possession by minors of any hardware that can be used to vape nicotine. A first offence under the law is a civil infraction that can be punished with a $50 fine; a third offence is a criminal misdemeanour, attracting heavier penalties. Now the sheriff’s department and county public health agency will be actively targeting vape shops in an attempt to end the moral panic.

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