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Vape crackdown won't work, Border Force boss warns



Australia's decision to ban imports of recreational vapes as part of a nationwide crackdown won't work, the head of the Australian Border Force has warned.

Health Minister Mark Butler announced earlier this month that non-prescription vapes would be stopped at the border as the government looks to ban recreational vaping nationwide and place tight restrictions on flavour and packaging.

But ABF Commissioner Michael Outram said the black market wouldn't be crushed by the proposed rules.

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Outram told a Senate estimates hearing that the regulations were a work in progress.

No funding was attached to them in the recent federal budget, with the Commonwealth still working out how to mesh with the states and territories on the issue.

Outram said the ABF was only able to detect about a quarter of illegal drugs coming across the border at the moment, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"The level of criminal infiltration at our border is concerning," he said.

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The federal government aims to make Australia the first country in the world to successfully regulate vapes as prescription-only products.

The government has promised to streamline the process for getting a prescription vape, with only one in 20 doctors currently authorised to issue one.

"We think this has to change," Health Minister Mark Butler said.

"It will require removing the restrictions on doctors prescribing so that all doctors can write a script for those who really need it."

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