Zali Steggall MP speaks to her amendments on the Tobacco and Other Products Bill 2023

18 October 2023


I move amendments (1) to (4), as circulated in my name, together.

These amendments are important to ensure that all the loopholes in relation to this bill are closed. The bill as currently drafted provides for exceptions when it comes to advertising in relation to those points of sale and in relation to advertising on airlines. It's not clear why the government intends to keep these loopholes open at this time. The government has indicated that it wishes to be hard on vaping. We know that the statistics are damning, that vaping is a serious risk to our young people and is leading to increasing rates of smoking amongst young people, which is incredibly concerning.

These amendments, while not dramatic, are nevertheless important in closing those loopholes. Amendment (4) is in relation to clause 67, which is quite extraordinary, I suggest to the House—that the government, whilst claiming to be going strong on vaping, is nonetheless allowing for an exception in this legislation such that sponsorship and political gifts from vape companies should remain allowable. This is directly contrary to the expectations of our communities, parents and young people. If the government feels that vaping is a sufficient health risk to our population that we are restricting the use of nicotine and non-nicotine vapes other than for prescription, then why is it allowing a loophole for donations and gifts to be made to political parties from vaping entities? That is quite extraordinary. I have put to the health minister that really this exception should not be permitted.

The other amendments go essentially to areas of permitted publication where there are loopholes that have been left in the legislation. I urge the government to close those loopholes to ensure that we do not let these vaping companies, which are ultimately extensions of «tobacco» companies, find the cracks in order to go and market to our young people and ultimately have that negative impact on their health.

Many in my electorate are incredibly concerned, especially parents of teenagers, among whom we know that the growing impact is incredibly concerning. As I mentioned in my previous speech, there are also concerns about the way in which vapes are so directly marketed to young people under the cover of shops that look like lolly shops, through the use of colour, fun marketing and flavours. This is all very insidious marketing to young people. So, all loopholes must be closed when it comes to those marketing and permitted publications. But the most important loophole that must be closed is this exception in relation to political donations and gifts.