Posted on November 15, 2023 By Colin
THE HEALTH MINISTER is determined to introduce “the toughest vaping laws in the world” to tackle vaping, which he regards as a public health menace.
We are finally starting to get a clearer picture of the detail of Mark Butler’s plains. Some changes will require legislation and must pass through both houses of federal Parliament. Others are simply regulations that can just be mandated by the Health Minister (more at end).
The elephant in the room is the black market, which will continue to supply illegal products. The black market will go underground, prices will rise and criminal activity is certain to increase. Other unintended consequences of these changes are vapers going back to smoking and an increase in dangerous home mixing.
Legal vaping with or without nicotine will continue to require a prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner. All GPs will be allowed to prescribe without having to apply to become Authorised Prescribers.
Further GP training is proposed, but no details are available.
Vapes (nicotine and nicotine-free) can only be sold from pharmacies. Sales from other retail outlets will continue to be banned.
Additional funding is needed for state Health Departments to enforce illegal retail sale. NSW is to increase its 7 inspectors to 14. Little other information is available so far.
Only tobacco and a weak mint flavour will be allowed.
Still undecided. The likely limit will be 20mg/mL in line with the arbitrary limit set in the UK. However, even Simon Chapman recognizes this is too low and advises a 50mg/mL limit.
There will be a total import ban on disposable vaping products regardless of their nicotine content.
Date. This will begin on 1 January 2024
Pharmacies. Closed, pre-filled pod devices will be available from pharmacies. It is currently unclear if pre-mixed nicotine liquid will be available for open devices, such as refillable pod vapes and box mods.
Retail vape shops. The government plans to ban the import of all vape products, except those for pharmacy supply. This includes e-liquids (with and without nicotine), vaping devices, coils and parts. Vape shops will not be able to source stock and will be forced to close. It is anticipated that locally manufactured e-liquids will also be banned in time.
The personal importation of vapes from overseas for personal use will be banned. Only supplies intended for sale from pharmacies will be allowed.
Importers will require a licence and permit to import any therapeutic product.
Penalties for the illegal importation or supply of counterfeit or unapproved therapeutic goods is up to five years’ imprisonment and/or a financial penalty of up to $1.25 million. No extra funding has been provided for the Australian Border Force in this year's budget however.
This change requires an amendment to the Therapeutic Goods Act, and must pass both houses of federal parliament. The legislation may be blocked in the Senate if the Greens and Liberals oppose it.
Date. 1 March 2024
Vaping products will be brought in line with tobacco products under the current tobacco and vaping amendment bill.
All vape products will require pharmaceutical-like packaging with nicotine content displayed. Bright colours and appealing names banned. Graphic warnings may be required. TGA to produce upgraded standards. Legislation required.
Timing. 1 March 2024
The current TGO 110 standards will be upgraded with a larger list of allowed ingredients and more robust quality and safety standards. No information currently available.
Support will be provided for vapers who want to quit. No details provided yet.
Products for pharmacy sale must be submitted to the TGA for confirm compliance with the updated TGO 110 standards, before being imported or marketed.
The Minister has announced that legislation is being prepared to ban the manufacturing of vaping products in Australia.
Legislation must pass both houses of Parliament and can be blocked in the Senate. Write to your federal senators to ask them to support sensible legislation, especially the Greens and the federal Liberals who have not yet publicly declared their position.
'Regulations' can be made by the Minister for Health at his discretion or the TGA.