July 22, 2024

Vaping laws in Australia have undergone a significant overhaul with new measures coming into effect today as the government tackles what it has called “the biggest loophole in Australian healthcare history”.

The federal government has tweaked its ongoing plan, that was first announced last year, after reaching an agreement with the Greens to pass an amended version of its laws that changes how Australians can buy the products.

Here’s what the new rules are, now the Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024 has passed.

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Is vaping banned in Australia?

Vaping as a form of recreation has technically been banned, but vapes are still available to people who want to use them to stop smoking.

Under new laws that came into effect on July 1, the products can only be bought at pharmacists, and you’ll need a prescription to buy them.

There are restrictions placed on the flavours, nicotine content and packaging allowed.

From October 1, things will change again – prescriptions will be scrapped, but vapes will be treated as behind-the-counter therapeutic goods.

That means customers will need to provide photo ID have a discussion with a pharmacist before being allowed to buy them.

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But children aged under 18 will still require a prescription from their doctor to buy a vape even after October 1.

This is a change to the government’s original plans to maintain prescription-only supplies.

From March 1, 2024, it has been illegal to import disposable vapes, irrespective of the amount of nicotine they contain.

That includes people buying vapes overseas and having them shipped to Australia for their own use.

The colourful vapes which attract young people and have been sold at vape shops are not supposed to contain nicotine.

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But studies have shown they often do.

Vapes are also being blamed for a steep rise in teen smoking.

Health bosses say while the new plan is not perfect, it will stop around 1000 young Aussies starting to vape each week.

How do I get a prescription for a vape in Australia?

GPs can prescribe vapes, and pharmacists are allowed to fill prescriptions.

From October no prescription will be needed, but the only place to buy them will be at a pharmacy.

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Pharmacists are not happy about this, and have called the watered-down rules, “insulting”.

“There is limited evidence to support the use of vaping products for smoking cessation and nicotine dependence,” the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said.

They also say they’re worried about possible attacks on their shops.

Victoria has seen multiple shops targeted amid tobacco wars.

GP bosses support the plans, but say they’re “not perfect”.

Fears have been raised that vaping will be pushed onto the black market.

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