Impact of Australia’s new e-cigarette law on synthetic nicotine products
Australia has tightened its e-cigarette laws to combat the illegal use and sale of nicotine e-cigarette products.
From today on, it is illegal to buy nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine cartridges and nicotine oil from overseas and locally without a prescription.
Once these products arrive in the country, it is virtually illegal to have them in every jurisdiction (except South Australia) without a prescription.
“These decisions will reduce the risk of e-cigarettes to adolescents and non-smokers, provide a legal way to quit smoking on the advice of authorized medical professionals, and ensure that the problem of legal import but illegal possession is the unity of the Commonwealth, states and territories,” said a spokesman for health minister Greg Hunt.
Users can only dispense drugs in the pharmacy if they have visited one of about 80 authorized prescribers or doctors approved according to TGA’s special access plan B.
In a statement, a spokesman for federal health secretary Greg Hunt said the decisions would reduce the risk of e-cigarettes to adolescents and non-smokers.
The authorized prescriber is a general practitioner registered with the therapeutic supplies administration and can prescribe nicotine e-cigarette products.
TGA publishes a list of authorized prescribers who agree to publish their names and locations on its website.
You can get your prescription from one of the more than 30000 general practitioners in China, and then order it from overseas websites.
Although the federal government believes these changes will protect young people, a major e-cigarette advocate attacked the new legislation.
Brian Marlowe, director of the legalization e-cigarette campaign, believes that the prescription model is unnecessary.
“Look, I think this is a slap in the face for more than 500000 e-cigarette users across the country. These people have quit smoking and finally did the right thing to quit smoking, but somehow we made it more difficult for them to obtain these products we know, which are less harmful,” he said.
“I really think the prescription model will encourage people to smoke again. We have surveyed more than 7000 e-cigarette users across the country, and almost half of them said that once the prescription model is in place, they may smoke again.”
Despite criticism from e-cigarette advocates, the Australian smoking and Health Commission welcomed these laws.
CEO Morris Swanson said he hopes they can stop children from smoking e-cigarettes: we think this is a very positive measure. We hope the main impact is to prevent children and other young people from contacting disposable e-cigarettes.
Mr Swanson ignored any suggestion that the new law would put former smokers at risk of recurrence.
“That’s just nonsense,” he said. “Those who really want to quit smoking will be able to get prescriptions from their doctors, and they will benefit from supervision and support.”
Products that are not affected by these changes include Synthetic Nicotine replacement therapy, such as sprays, patches, lozenges, chewing agents and chewing gum.
Electronic cigarette stores will still be able to sell flavor and Synthetic Nicotine electronic cigarette products, or sell equipment separately.
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