The pharmacy nightmare is about to begin for vapers

Posted on February 15, 2024 By Colin

SOURCING YOUR PREFERRED VAPES through pharmacies will be a nightmare under the new rules being introduced on 1 March 2024. Dr Carolyn Beaumont is an Australian GP and vape prescriber and she explains the new rules and the challenges vapers will face.

Australian vapers have needed a prescription for nicotine e-liquid since October 2020. But at least they were able to buy their preferred products via personal importation, usually from a wide selection in New Zealand. The various consumables such as replacement pods were accessible without any script requirements.

The prescription model has so far, in my view, been a dismal failure. Very few doctors will prescribe nicotine e-liquid, with the majority of scripts being issued by a tiny minority of doctors.

But this pales into insignificance compared to the extra barriers ex-smokers will face from March 1. All overseas personal importation will be banned, including e-liquid, as well as vaping accessories such as empty refillable vapes, replacement cartridges, and coils.

Incredibly, from 1 March 2024 all e-liquids, vaping devices and vape accessories will need a doctor's prescription and can be legally supplied only by pharmacies

As a vape prescriber, I have spent many months talking to hundreds of pharmacists nationally. Very few pharmacies are prepared to stock vaping products. These are the main issues I have identified in discussions with pharmacists:

If you think that doctors and pharmacists don’t know which vape to supply, that is nothing compared to trying to get a script and supply of your favourite device’s replacement pod.

Does the government really expect doctors to know which brands to prescribe, how often a device needs replacement pods, what wicks and coils to prescribe and how to advise on correct and safe use? And do they really expect pharmacies will stock these products?

So it has fallen to a small number of online pharmacies to fill this void, just as a small number of online doctors manage the vast majority of Australian vapers who go to the trouble of getting a script.

From 1 March, I anticipate the prescription/pharmacy supply model becoming mostly an online e-commerce industry. Needless to say, the vape and cigarette black market will continue to thrive

To Australia’s pharmacists and doctors: be prepared to become pseudo vape stores. Be prepared for questions about rebuildable atomizers, sub-ohm tanks, decks, nicotine salts versus freebase, and the benefits of Kanthal versus Nichrome coils.

Or not. Hey, vapers can always return to the black market or smoking. Cigarettes never sounded so good.

Dr Carolyn Beaumont, GP and prescriber of vapes for smoking cessation.

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