Australian Border Force seizes over half a million dollars worth of ‘Vapes’ in major bust

The crackdown on disposable vapes follows new regulations that came into effect on 1 January 2024, banning the importation of such products

In an operation against the importation of illicit vaping products, the Australian Border Force (ABF) has intercepted a massive consignment of disposable vapes valued at approximately $540,000, preventing them from reaching the streets of Sydney.

The seizure, made on Friday, 15 March 2024, involved over two and a half tonnes of vaping products, equivalent to around 18,000 disposable vapes, concealed within an air cargo consignment initially declared as small clothing items.

This operation marks a major victory in the ABF’s efforts to curb the illegal vape market, which has seen about 350,000 vapes seized nationwide between 1 January and 29 February 2024, in collaboration with the Therapeutic Goods Administration and state health departments.

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The crackdown on disposable vapes follows new regulations that came into effect on 1 January 2024, banning the importation of such products with limited exceptions. The prohibition was extended from 1 March 2024 to include all non-therapeutic vapes, regardless of nicotine content or therapeutic claims.

ABF Aviation Goods Superintendent Asha Patwardhan emphasised the increasing awareness and compliance among individuals regarding Australia’s stance on illicit vaping products.

Supt Patwardhan stated,

“People were starting to get the message and understand Australia is not open for business when it comes to importing illicit vaping products.”

The ABF’s expertise in intercepting a variety of illicit goods has enabled swift adaptation and effective response to this emerging challenge.

In addition to the enforcement actions, the ABF has observed a positive trend of individuals voluntarily surrendering disposable vapes at the border, utilising surrender bins provided to dispose of such items before seizure.

Supt Patwardhan encourages travellers in Australia to continue this practice, highlighting the broader societal issues associated with vaping, including health, education, and environmental concerns.

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The seized vapes are scheduled for destruction in the coming weeks as investigations into the consignment’s origin and intended recipients progress. This operation underscores the ABF’s commitment to safeguarding Australian communities from the harms associated with illicit vaping products and the multi-faceted approach required to tackle the issue comprehensively.

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