Thursday, May 23, 2024

Australian Authorities Seize Over 40,000 Illegal E-Cigarettes in Raid

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According to Australian media on September 1st, as part of an ongoing investigation into the illegal sale of tobacco, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) executed multiple search warrants on August 29th. Over 40,000 e-cigarette products were seized from a warehouse and property in Brisbane, with an estimated value exceeding 1.2 million Australian dollars.

According to reports, these seized products are said to be designed as prescription medicines, however, they are not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).

These products will be tested in TGA laboratories to determine if they contain controlled and other hazardous substances. The TGA statement claims that nicotine e-cigarette products imported or supplied without TGA approval pose a significant public health risk, and that laboratory testing has revealed many products contain dangerous and undisclosed chemicals.

In a recent large-scale cross-institution operation, actions were taken while the TGA continued investigating the issue of unapproved imports of nicotine e-cigarette products. Although no charges have been filed at the time of this report, the penalties for illegal importation or supply of unapproved therapeutic goods can include up to 5 years of imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of AUD 1.25 million.

Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler, announced in May that strong measures would be taken to combat the supply of illegal e-cigarette products. He stated, “E-cigarettes are creating a whole new generation of nicotine dependency in our society, posing a significant threat to Australia’s successful tobacco control. The Albanese government will not stand idly by. E-cigarettes have been touted by governments and communities around the world as a therapeutic product to help long-term smokers quit. It was never intended to be an entertainment product, especially not one targeted at our children, but that is the reality.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) encourages individuals who suspect that therapeutic products are not compliant with regulations to report illegal or suspicious practices or advertisements to the TGA.

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