The crackdown on illegal vapes continues with a series of Queensland Health-led raids across Central and North Queensland.
Officers searched ten retail outlets in Emerald, Mackay, Townsville, Ayr, Yeppoon and Rockhampton last Tuesday, seizing more than 7,300 vapes, 343kg of illicit tobacco and hundreds of other illegal products including drug utensils.
The raids coincided with an Australian Border Force-led Illicit Tobacco Taskforce raid on the Gold Coast.
All up across the state, more than $2 million worth of illegal tobacco products were seized.
The raids follow a Queensland Health report released in May which found that all vapes contained extremely high levels of nicotine, as well as chemicals such as formaldehyde, arsenic, lead, and mercury.
Minister for Health Shannon Fentiman says the Palaszczuk Government has a zero-tolerance policy for those who peddle illicit tobacco.
“That is why we passed laws earlier this year to arm Queensland Health with the tools to target those who undermine the health and wellbeing of Queenslanders.”
“These raids show that the laws are clearly working as intended.”
“This should send a strong message to illegal tobacco and vape traders in Queensland: clean up your act or face the consequences.”
Acting Chief Health Officer Catherine McDougall says it is clear from the research that e-cigarette use carries the risk of significant harm.
“E-cigarette products available today can contain up to 243 unique chemical compounds, including lead, arsenic and formaldehyde. These chemicals can be extremely dangerous, particularly when inhaled.
“Many e-cigarette products also contain illicit nicotine. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known and has demonstrated detrimental effects on brain development.
“Queenslanders have done an extraordinary job in reducing rates of smoking over the past 10 years, reducing the burden of disease associated with tobacco use. Any efforts to reduce accessibility of tobacco and nicotine-containing products should be welcomed and applauded.”