WA Health has seized almost 1000 illegal e-cigarettes from a South West business during a joint operation with WA Police Force.
An inspection of the premises late last week led to the seizure of 950 vaping products and two cartons of illicit tobacco.
WA Health's Environmental Health Executive Director Dr Michael Lindsay said the Department had ramped up surveillance on the illegal sale of e-cigarettes and had recently put 3000 retailers on notice reminding them of the ongoing restrictions regarding the sale of e-cigarette devices and vaporiser nicotine products under WA's Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 and Medicines and Poisons Act 2014.
"The use of e-cigarettes and vapes by young people is on the rise causing increased health risks," he said.
"There are many harmful impacts of vaping, some of which we may not even see for another decade or so.
"People are often under the impression the liquid in vapes is flavoured water but the reality is, in many cases people are ingesting poisonous chemicals that can cause life-threatening illnesses."
In Australia, it is illegal to sell, supply or possess nicotine vaping products (such as e-cigarettes or e-liquids that contain nicotine) without a doctor's prescription.
In WA, it remains illegal for e-cigarette devices, whether they contain nicotine or not, to be sold by tobacco or general retailers.
WA Health said nicotine is a dangerous poison, even in small quantities, and it is strictly regulated.
Some of the hazardous substances found in e-cigarette liquids and in the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes are known to cause damage to human cells and DNA and can cause cancer.
In the past three years, the Department has seized more than 16,000 illegal nicotine vaping products.
Dr Lindsay said targeted operations would be conducted on retailers regularly across the state to help minimise the health risks to the Western Australian community.
Anyone caught selling these harmful devices may have their products seized and could face prosecution," he said.
He thanked WA Police Force for their ongoing support and assistance in the joint operation
"WA Health would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of WA Police Force where non-compliance has been identified," he said.
The maximum penalty for selling e-cigarettes, vapes and their components is $10,000 for an individual for a first offence and $20,000 for a second and subsequent offences.
If a business operates as a company, the maximum penalties are $40,000 and $80,000 respectively
For more information about e-cigarettes visit Electronic cigarettes in Western Australia (health.wa.gov.au)
For information about the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 visit: Tobacco control (health.wa.gov.au)
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