10 July, 2024

New laws shut down vapes

From July 1, the Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Act 2024 ushered in a national framework regulating the importation, manufacture, supply, commercial possession, and advertisement of vapes across Australia.

New laws shut down vapes - feature photo

This landmark legislation, passed by the Australian Parliament, aims to mitigate the growing health risks associated with vaping while ensuring access to therapeutic vapes for smoking cessation remains available where clinically appropriate.

The reforms bring significant changes to how Australians can access vapes.

Non-pharmacy retailers including tobacconists, vape shops and convenience stores will no longer be permitted to sell any type of vape.

Therapeutic vapes will continue to be available from pharmacies, but only when deemed clinically appropriate.

Individuals wishing to purchase vapes containing nicotine or a zero-nicotine substance will still require a prescription from a medical or nurse practitioner.

Additionally, flavours for therapeutic vapes will be limited to mint, menthol, and tobacco.

Strict requirements will be imposed on anyone involved in transporting, storing or handling vapes, and the advertising or promotion of vapes will be generally prohibited.

This comprehensive regulatory approach aims to curb the illicit supply and reduce opportunities for unlawful trade.

From October 1, therapeutic vapes with a nicotine concentration of 20 mg/mL or less will be available from pharmacies without a prescription, provided a pharmacist assesses this as clinically appropriate.

The legislation also outlaws the domestic manufacture, supply, and commercial possession of non-therapeutic and disposable single-use vapes from July 1.

Only established pharmaceutical supply chains will be authorised to distribute and supply vapes.

Importers will be required to hold a customs license and permit from the Office of Drug Control, and only finished products will be lawful to dispense, prohibiting pharmacists from providing ingredients for patients to mix their own vaping substances.

Enhanced border controls, a ban on disposable single-use vapes, and an advertising ban are central to the reforms, making it easier to detect and disrupt illicit vape supply chains.

The Australian Border Force (ABF), in collaboration with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), will enforce these measures at the border, with any unauthorised vaping goods to be seized and destroyed.

A National Vaping Enforcement Framework will guide the unified enforcement of these laws.


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