More Than $5M Worth Of Vapes Seized As Crackdown Continues

Police across the country have seized millions of dollars worth of vapes since the latest bans came into effect at the start of the year, as the government attempts to tackle an epidemic that sees one in four young Australians vaping.

NSW Health said on Tuesday that enforcement officers have been finding retailers hiding vaping products in secret rooms behind fake walls and in hidden panels and drawers.

The number of confiscations has continued to grow after police in Sydney carried out 60 raids between 29 January and 2 February.

The raids seized 30,000 vapes, 118,000 cigarettes, 45kg of flavoured and loose-leaf tobacco and 284 containers of nicotine pouches, with an estimated street value of more than $1.1 million.

This means that since July 2020, when the earliest vaping bans came into effect, NSW police have now seized more than $30 million worth of illegal products.

NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park said that the vapes seized contained harmful chemicals also found in weed killer and antifreeze.

“The NSW Government committed $6.8 million over three years in the budget to invest in a crackdown on the sale of illegal vapes and increase support for young people who are addicted to vaping,” he said in a statement.

“Vapes are not a safe alternative to smoking and we are doing everything we can to educate young people on the harms of vaping and to protect them from those same harms.”

He said that with retailers getting more secretive, people were encouraged to report any illegal sales to NSW Health.

These latest seizures come about a week after more than a quarter of a million disposable vapes, weighing about 13 tonnes, were seized by the Australian Border Force (ABF) at a port in Adelaide.

ABF became suspicious when 14 consignments were found marked as “refillable atomiser” and said the vapes had an estimated value of more than $4.5 million.

“This is a clear signal to the community that the new vaping regime was well and truly underway,” ABF assistant Commissioner Chris Waters said at the time.

“Unlawful behaviour in relation to vape imports at the border will be detected and the goods will be seized. 

“We expect many international vaping suppliers will continue to attempt to send products to Australia, and may seek to change their behaviour to avoid detection.”

He said that ABF was working with other agencies to stop the sale of vapes at all stages of the supply chain.

Read More: More Than $5M Worth Of Vapes Seized As Crackdown Continues