Health authorities have seized $100,000 in illegal vapes as concern reaches new heights over the rate of young people taking up the highly addictive act.
South Australia Health seized more than 4500 vapes containing highly addictive amounts of nicotine during a recent crackdown on businesses.
One business had concealed the vapes in empty pizza boxes, while another was selling devices with the equivalent of three entire packs of cigarettes in one single vape.
“Some of those people have gone to extreme lengths to hide these illegal vapes,” SA Health Minister Chris Picton told reporters on Monday.
The seized vapes have an estimated street value of more than $100,000.
SA Health executive director health protection and licensing services Chris Lease said some businesses tried to move the illegal vapes off the premises while authorities conducted their searches.
The major crackdown comes as young people take up the dangerous habit in droves.
“Some parents say that their kids even have them under the pillow and they can’t sleep at night, they wake up and they are having to puff on the vape because of that addiction,” SA chief health officer Nicola Spurrier said.
Many young people are obtaining the illegal smoking devices at tobacconists and convenience stores despite laws that prohibit their sale without a prescription.
Stronger licensing conditions came into effect from July 10 that required sellers to stop selling, supplying, possessing or storing vape products containing nicotine.
The federal government introduced a national initiative in May that included stopping the importation of recreational vaping products. It’s due to come into effect by the end of 2023.