New vape regulations start today – what you need to know

Posted on June 30, 2024 By Colin


VAPES ARE ONLY LEGALLY AVAILABLE from pharmacies with a doctor's prescription from today, under Mark Butler's prohibitionist Vaping Reforms Act. From 1 October 2024, a prescription will only be necessary for nicotine base concentrations over 20mg/mL.

All vape shops are required to close today. Vapes are only permitted for smoking cessation or for the management of nicotine dependence. Recreational vaping is banned.

However, it is expected that most vapers will continue to access supplies from the usual black market sources, such as tobacconists, convenience stores, and via social media. Some vapers will go back to smoking

Here are the latest guidelines

1 July-30 September 2024

From 1 October 2024

Nicotine liquid will be reclassified in the Poisons Standard from Schedule 4 (prescription-only medicine) to Schedule 3 (pharmacist-only medicine). From this date

Later [link]

Finding a pharmacy

Finding a pharmacy selling vapes will be challenging. The Pharmacy Guild which represents the 6,000 pharmacy owners in Australia “strongly opposes the pharmacy model” and regards it as “insulting”.

TerryWhite Chemmart, Priceline, Blooms, National Pharmacies in South Australia and 777 Pharmacy Group in West Australia announced they would not supply vapes and it is likely that many independent pharmacies will also not stock vapes

Some online pharmacies are also available with a wide range of products. However, I am not allowed to tell you which ones.

Penalties

Personal possession

Personal possession and use of nicotine e-liquie without a prescription is an offence under state laws, with jail terms up to 2 years and fines up to $45,000. Once nicotine becomes Schedule 3 on 1 October 2024, these penalties will no longer apply.

The health minister has repeatedly said that illegal purchase or possession will not be an offence under federal law.

Commercial offences

For commercial offences, new maximum penalties of up to 7 years in jail and fines up to $2.2 million for individuals and $21.91 million for corporations apply.

No prohibitions apply to possession of less than a ‘commercial quantity’ of vapes.

Until 30 September 2024, the commercial quantities are [link]:

From 1 October 2024, the commercial quantities will be:

Standards

For vaping substances:
Therapeutic Goods (Standard for Therapeutic Vaping Goods) (TGO 110) Order 2021 (TGO 110), and

For vaping devices or accessories
Either:

Traveller's exemption

Persons entering Australia by ship or aircraft may bring a small quantity of vapes under a traveller’s exemption. The vapes must be for use in the treatment of the traveller or someone the traveller is caring for, who is entering Australia on the same ship or aircraft.

The maximum allowable quantity is:

Schedule 3 but unregistered

All Schedule 3 products (pharmacist-only medicines) are registered by the TGA and listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). This requires an onerous and expensive process by the manufacturer confirming safety and effectiveness.  Vapes are the only S3 products that are currently not registered.

Review

The regulations will be reviewed in 3 years.

References

The Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Act 2024

New vaping laws to commence 1 July 2024. TGA

TGA Vaping Hub

List of notified vapes

Reforms to the regulation of vapes, 24 June 2024. TGA

TGA. Changes to the regulation of vapes. 1 July 2024

TGA. Vapes: information for wholesale, transport, logistics and storage facilities. 1 July 2024

TGA. Vapes: information for sponsors, importers and manufacturers. 1 July 2024

TGA. Vapes: information for patients and consumers. 1 July 2024

TGA. Vapes: information for pharmacists 6 July 2024

TGA. Vapes: information for prescribers. 14 July 2024


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