Barnaby Joyce throws support behind vape tax claiming people buying vapes meet ‘people who sell them meth’

Max Corstorphan
The Nightly
An Inner-West council is taking bold steps to control the rapid expansion of vape and tobacco stores in their local area.

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce has thrown his support behind a bid to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional tax revenue, a new push to legalise and regulate vaping claiming kids are meeting people ‘who sell them ice’ when they go to buy a vape.

Projections indicate that if an excise tax is implemented on vapes, Queensland, NSW, and Victoria could each collect over $600 million in the next four years.

This initiative, supported by the Nationals, emerges as the Government intensifies its crackdown on recreational vaping by imposing a ban.

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Speaking on Sunrise on Monday, Mr Joyce said when people go to buy vapes: “They also meet the person who sells them ice, sells them heroin, who sells them dope, sells them meth, all the other things you don’t want this person ever to meet.”

“People are making money out of it, the Mafia predominantly. If you want to fix that, you have to bring it in a regulated form.”

“I do not vape, they will kill you but so do cigarettes and they’re legal,” Mr Joyce continued.

“It doesn’t have the effect of alcohol or drugs that it hurts, disinhibits or destroys your capacity to drive a car, there is not the moral outrage against other drugs.

“That doesn’t make it right but we’ve got to be a realist and say unless you want people to take an unregulated product from China, the money flows back to criminals in China and Australia.

“You have to be a realist and say wouldn’t it be better to have a regulated product we can strictly control and the revenue goes back to the Australian health system where it belongs?

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek joined Mr Joyce on the program, expressing the only people who want more sales of vapes are big tobacco companies.

“Their first generation of customers is dying from smoking-related ill health,” Ms Plibersek said.

“They want a new generation of customers. That’s the kids. These vapes are shaped like highlighter pens or computer memory cards so kids can hide them in pencil cases. Teachers say this is the worst discipline problem in schools.

“Kids are sleeping with vapes under their pillows so they can wake up in the night and vape. They’re getting popcorn lungs and black mouth disease.

“You might make money from tax revenue, we would spend billions in the health system cleaning up the mess of the vaping addiction that has taken hold of young people today. No, we shouldn’t be making it easier for kids to get vapes.”

Mr Joyce agreed with the health implications of vaping but said the government isn’t controlling the situation.

“The money being made is being made by criminals,” Mr Joyce said.

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