Smokers will now have to go somewhere else to have a cigarette as Queensland expands its smoke free zones across the state.
New smoke and vape-free zones now apply at outdoor markets, near outdoor eating and drinking venues, school carparks and all under 18s organised recreational events.
Anyone caught smoking or vaping in a smoke-free public place is could face up to 20 penalty units with an on-the-spot fine of up to $310.
The State Government’s new smoking reforms come after more than 40,000 vaping products were seized as part of an ongoing investigation into stopping the sale of illegal tobacco.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) executed multiple warrants and seized more than 40,000 vaping products from storage units and properties across Brisbane on August 29.
The seized products have an estimated street value more than $1.2m million.
They were allegedly designed to be prescription medicines that were not included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).
The products will be tested in the TGA laboratories for scheduled and other dangerous ingredients.
“Nicotine vaping products that are not imported or supplied under a TGA approved pathway pose a significant public health risk, with many tested by the TGA laboratories found to contain dangerous and undeclared chemicals,” the TGA stated.
The massive multi-agency bust comes as the TGA continues its investigation into importation of unapproved nicotine vaping products.
While no charges have been made at time of publication, penalties for illegal importation or supply of unapproved therapeutic goods are up to 5 years imprisonment and/or up to $1.25m
Federal Health and Aged Care minister Mark Butler announced in May there would be strong action to combat the supply of unlawful vaping products.
“Vaping is creating a whole new generation of nicotine dependency in our community,” Mr Butler said.
“It poses a major threat to Australia’s success in tobacco control and the Albanese Government is not going to stand by and let this happen.
“Vaping was sold to governments and communities around the world as a therapeutic product to help long-term smokers quit.
“It was not sold as a recreational product – especially not one targeted to our kids but that is what it has become.”
The TGA encourages people who suspect noncompliance in relation to therapeutic goods to report illegal or questionable practices or suspected non-compliant advertising online to the TGA.