Deniliquin Pastoral Times

‘Bacco bust

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Almost $4000 in illegal tobacco products — including vapes, chop chop and illegally imported cigarettes — have been seized from a Deniliquin business.

Murrumbidg­ee Local Health District’s (MLHD) tobacco compliance officer Ian Hardinge said the items were discovered during a routine inspection.

He alleged the Deniliquin business has a history of ‘non-compliance’.

‘‘We discovered multiple illegal tobacco products, including liquid nicotine and disposable nicotine vapes,’’ Mr Hardinge said.

All vape and liquid nicotine products are illegal in Australia.

Mr Hardinge said their use is particular­ly high among teenagers, although he did specify there is no evidence of the Deniliquin store selling to minors.

“Disposable vapes look very similar to a thumb drive or makeup, which means they can go unnoticed in a child's pencil case. Their parents may not realise what it is.”

According to a NSW population health survey from 2019, only 1.8 per cent of e-cigarette users were over the age of 16.

And a 2017 study found that 9.5 per cent of NSW students aged between 12 and 15 years old, and 20.7 per cent of those between 16 and 17 had used an e-cigarette.

Mr Hardinge said all stakeholde­rs — including schools, police and local health districts — are trying to alert parents, and young people, that ingesting any tobacco product is extremely harmful.

MLHD encourages underaged smokers, or ‘vapers’, to speak with their GP.

‘‘We’re trying to get that message out, especially with vapes.

‘‘There are a variety of substance therapies accessible to kids who have been using for a while.

“And you won’t get into trouble for seeking help.”

Other products seized by MLHD include illegally imported cigarettes, which did not abide by Australian plain packaging laws.

They also allege to have found ‘chopchop’ cigarettes — a category that is often made in Australia but bereft of regulation, which are desirable for their exemption

from Australian tax laws, and thus far cheaper than ordinary tobacco.

‘‘The border police try to stop as much of it (illegally imported cigarettes) coming in as they can, but they can’t stop everything,” Mr Hardinge said.

‘‘And as for chop-chop, the reality is we just don’t know what goes into these products.

‘‘We don’t know their point of origin or what chemicals they may contain.”

The seized products will be destroyed by MLHD, which has also issued a notice to the offending business.

Informatio­n regarding the sale or supply of illegal tobacco products should be reported to police via CrimeStopp­ers — 1300 333 000.

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 ??  ?? ■ Murrumbidg­ee Local Health District tobacco compliance officer Ian Hardinge with some of the items seized in Deniliquin.
■ Murrumbidg­ee Local Health District tobacco compliance officer Ian Hardinge with some of the items seized in Deniliquin.

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