Chinese exporters shipping millions of vaporizers to Australia are promising distributors they will get their money back if customs seize the illegal smoking devices, explosive WhatsApp messages have revealed.
The messages were leaked just weeks after Albanese government health minister Mark Butler introduced a nationwide ban on the import of disposable vapes on January 1.
Many retailers still illegally sell and import these products, making them easily accessible despite legal restrictions.
WhatsApp messages between a Chinese exporter and an Australian vape distributor, seen by Daily Mail Australia, show why many retailers are still willing to take the risk.
Chinese exporters shipping millions of vaporizers to Australia are promising their customers they will get their money back if customs seize the illegal smoking devices, explosive WhatsApp messages have revealed.
Australian man seen ordering 50,000 illegal vaporizers from Chinese exporter
‘Do you offer insurance if customs confiscates the products?’ the Australian distributor asked in a message.
“Even the flavor division, comprehensive insurance if customs confiscates the products.”
The exporter responded by saying they would provide insurance and then asked how many vaporizers the customer wanted.
The merchant ordered 50,000 vaporizers in three flavors.
‘Are you in a hurry to receive this batch of goods?’ said the exporter.
A Chinese e-cigarette logistics company claimed Border Force officers were only confiscating 0.01 per cent of its e-cigarettes.
The Australian ordered 50,000 vaporizers, including Nexbar vaporizers
They also claimed to be exporting 30 tonnes of vapes a day at Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, as seen in Daily Mail Australia promotional material.
“Committed to becoming the first world-class international e-cigarette logistics fulfillment brand,” the company said.
“The self-operated special line, the whole process is controllable, can implement fast and efficient inspection procedures at the airport, enjoy safer, more convenient and efficient air logistics services, and accompany electronic cigarettes to the sea without worry.”
The company also claimed to have an “independent professional customs clearance team.”
The text messages have been exposed just months after Daily Mail Australia revealed how easy it was to buy vapes following a government crackdown.
Along busy King Street in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, at least 20 independent and chain stores sell nicotine vaporizers, illicit cigarettes and other illegal devices.
Buying a vaporizer is as easy as buying a can of soda or a newspaper and, in many cases, does not require identification checks; The average vaporizer costs around $25.
Legalize Vaping Australia campaign director Brian Marlow says Chinese exporters don’t care about the consequences and will continue to smuggle illegal vapes into Australia.
“It is clear that these exporters do not care about the new rules of the Minister of Health.”
He wants Australia to regulate vaping to properly get rid of the black market, make it easier for adults to quit smoking and stop children buying vaporizers from convenience stores.
‘Even after the January 1 regulations, they continue to bring these products. It is a complete and utter political failure on the part of Mark Butler and the Albanian government.
‘These exporters offer insurance. If they are caught somehow, they will pay the fine and a new shipment.
‘We need to legalize vaping as an adult product like New Zealand where they don’t have a rampant black market.
“The only way to stop China profiting from Australia’s failed vaping laws is to regulate the category as a consumer product,” Marlow said.
No ID checks required when Daily Mail Australia bought illegal vaping products
A Therapeutic Goods Administration spokesperson said the Australian government takes non-compliance with the importation of vaporizers very seriously.
“The Australian Border Force and Therapeutic Goods Administration are working closely to prevent illegal vapers from entering the country and are taking stepped-up enforcement action as appropriate,” they said.
“The government’s reforms to vape regulation, which will be implemented throughout 2024, aim to make it easier to detect illegal vapes and will be supported by a national vaping enforcement framework supported by the Commonwealth, the states and territories.
As part of a national crackdown introduced in January, the import of disposable vaporizers was banned.
Access to e-cigarettes for therapeutic purposes requires a prescription from a doctor or nurse.
Other changes planned for March will ban the personal importation of vaporizers and the importation of all non-therapeutic vaporizers.
Australia’s Health Minister Mark Butler has said those selling vapes must find a new way to make money.
“Once the legislation is passed by Parliament later this year, the only legal way to buy vaporizers will be therapeutically through a pharmacy,” explained Health Minister Mark Butler.
But former federal police officer Rohan Pike said it would be extremely difficult for the ABF to enforce the ban on importing disposable vapes and says the black market will continue to thrive.
“As long as there is demand, there will be a black market, as there is now,” he told Nine.
‘The unfortunate thing about this is that it is not regulated. “People consume these things and really leave their health in the hands of organized criminals.”
Late last month, Australian Border Force officers confiscated 13 tonnes of disposable vapes that had arrived in Adelaide from China.
ABF agents became suspicious when 14 air cargo shipments arrived labeled as “refillable atomizers,” which are often used for perfumes.
The total amount of vaporizers seized is expected to have a street value of $4.5 million.
China is said to be responsible for manufacturing 90 percent of the world’s vaporizers, including the hugely popular Elf Bar.
While the country has banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes nationwide, companies can still manufacture and sell them around the world.