VAPING IN AUSTRALIA – WHY DID THE LAW CHANGE?

VAPING IN AUSTRALIA – WHY DID THE LAW CHANGE?

You probably already know, from 1 October 2021 vaping laws in Australia have changed.  

If you live in Australia and want to purchase nicotine vaping products (whether acquired from overseas websites or an Australian supplier), you now need to fill a vaping script issued by a doctor who is a TGA Authorised Nicotine Prescriber.   

As these changes in legislation have left new and seasoned vapers with many questions, the article below aims to shed some light on the current vaping landscape.

Which products have been affected by the legislation changes?  

These changes in legislation affected all products containing nicotine in solution (salt or free base) and heated using a vaping device to make aerosol for inhalation ('vaping') such as:  

  • nicotine e-cigarettes     
  • nicotine pods     
  • liquid nicotine (also known as eJuice, vape juice, eLiquid).     

Products containing nicotine not affected by the changes in the legislation include:     

  • other nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine sprays, nicotine patches and nicotine gums   
  • vaping products that do not contain nicotine.     

Why did the law change?  

The main concern by the Australian Government involves the increasing use of nicotine vaping products among young people, with an increment of 96% recorded between 2015 and 2019.    

Vaping is quickly becoming a popular alternative to smoking and the new regulations aim to prevent the rise of a new nicotine-dependent young generation, while still allowing current smokers to access nicotine vaping products for smoking cessation on their doctor's advice.    

Prescription requirements    

Deciding to quit smoking is undoubtedly the first step towards quitting smoking, so how can Australians access vaping scripts?  

While vaping may have a lower impact on your health than smoking, just like combustible cigarettes, these products contain nicotine, a substance considered addictive and harmful. It's essential, therefore, to seek nicotine and smoking cessation counselling from a doctor who is an authorised prescriber to obtain a 'vaping script', or better, a prescription for Liquid Nicotine matching individual requirements.    

Sourcing  vaping products  

You have obtained your script for vaping; where can you get nicotine vaping products, and most importantly, how to know what products are safe?     

The two main ways to obtain nicotine vaping products if your doctor gives you a prescription are:     

  1. Filling your prescription at an Australian pharmacy (either a physical community pharmacy or an Australian online pharmacy)     
  1. Using the Personal Importation Scheme.   

Filling your prescription at an Australian pharmacy.      

Other than pharmacies dispensing vaping nicotine to patients with a prescription, it is illegal for any other Australian retailers, including vape stores, to sell products that contain vaping nicotine - however, vape stores are still able to sell flavours and vaping devices.      

Personal Importation Scheme     

Using the Personal Importation Scheme, people can order a maximum of 3-month supply at one time and a maximum of 15-month supply in 12 months. You will need to provide an e-script at the time of purchase to be enclosed with the package of your order and prevent any delays or even confiscation by the Australian Border Force (ABF).     

What about travellers?      

Suppose you are travelling into Australia from overseas. In that case, you may bring nicotine vaping products for personal use if you have a prescription and meet the other requirements for the traveller's exemption.     

What do these changes mean for current vapers?   

While vaping is not encouraged as a long-term habit, if your doctors consider nicotine vaping products an appropriate treatment to help you stop smoking, you may still be able to obtain a prescription and lawfully source your products.    

Quality and Quantity     

Let's clear the air first. As vaping is not considered a first-line treatment for quitting smoking (meaning, it is only encouraged when other cessation methods have failed), at present, there are no nicotine vaping products approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).  

However, all products purchased from Australian pharmacies must meet the requirements of standards for unapproved nicotine vaping products.  

Choosing a reputable Australian supplier like a community pharmacy or an integrated online pharmacy will ensure standards are met when sourcing nicotine vaping products safely.      

If you choose to purchase your nicotine from an overseas website, you should ensure the online retailer is reputable and meets TGO110 standards.  

 As the changes in legislation have only come into effect recently, there are still many unregulated and illegal e-cigarettes or vapes sold ‘under the counter’ in Australia.  

Unregulated vapes and e-cigarettes contain a number of ingredients and can be harmful to your health. It is important to prioritise quality when purchasing your vaping products by sourcing them from a legal prescription service. 
It is important to source nicotine vaping products from a reputable pharmacy to ensure that the products you use meet Australian Safety Standards.
 Vape Scripts integrates medical consultation and prescription pharmacy services for safe prescription and dispensing of vaping nicotine. 

 

Additional resources: 

Find more information about safe vaping and harmful ingredients:    

https://www.tga.gov.au/nicotine-vaping-products-frequently-asked-questions   

https://www.athra.org.au/  

https://www.tga.gov.au/nicotine-vaping-products-information-consumers 

https://www.tga.gov.au/sites/default/files/nicotine-vaping-products-and-vaping-devices_0.pdf 

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