Nicotine for e-cigarettes import ban


woman vaping in a restaurant

E-cigarettes containing nicotine are set to be banned from importation, in a move welcomed by doctor groups

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has advised that the Australian Government plans to ask the Governor-General in Council to amend the Customs (Prohibited Import) Regulations from 1 July 2020 prohibiting the importation of e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine (nicotine in solution or in salt or base form) and nicotine-containing refills unless on prescription from a doctor.

“The sale of e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine (nicotine in a solution or in salt or base form) is already prohibited by law by each state and territory, because of public health concerns,” the TGA says.

“This measure further strengthens Australia’s precautionary approach to e-cigarettes, by prohibiting the importation of nicotine for use in e-cigarettes unless exempt under specific circumstances.

“Evidence suggests that the use of e-cigarettes by non-smoking youths predicts future take up of smoking. In the USA, there was a 78% increase in the number of high school children who are vaping over the most recent 12-month period surveyed.

“Without action, Australian youth will also be at risk.

“The Victorian Poisons Information Centre reported 41 cases of liquid nicotine poisonings in 2019, up from 21 in 2018. In July 2018, a Victorian toddler died from e-cigarette liquid nicotine consumption.”

The TGA advises that should the change be adopted, people will be able to access nicotine for smoking cessation purposes “with appropriate medical supervision”.

“You will need a prescription from your doctor for an e-cigarette containing vaporiser nicotine, and it will need to be obtained on your behalf by a medical supplier or from a pharmacist who dispenses it for your use as the named patient,” it says.

“The company or the pharmacist will need to be given a copy of your prescription.

“You are no longer permitted to import nicotine for use in e-cigarettes directly from an overseas supplier without a valid import permit.”

E-cigarette products not containing nicotine can still be imported.

The Australian Border Force is obliged to seize e-cigarette products containing nicotine at the border.

More information is available here.

Doctors welcomed the move.

AMA Vice President, Dr Chris Zappala – a respiratory specialist – said that nicotine is highly addictive.

“Big Tobacco has sought to promote e-cigarettes and vaping as healthy alternatives to normalise smoking among younger people,” he said. “They are not healthy.

“The AMA welcomes the move to strengthen the response to the importation of nicotine liquids for use in e-cigarettes. Stronger enforcement should see a reduction in the amount of illegally imported nicotine solution coming to Australia.

“The AMA is concerned about the quality of imported nicotine solutions. Some have been found to contain higher levels of nicotine than advertised, as well as other adulterants that may pose a risk to users’ health.

“The continued ban will also prevent non-smokers from unintentionally developing nicotine addiction, which can lead to traditional tobacco use. Given the experience in the US, this is a particular concern for young people in Australia.”

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said that, “The long-term health effects of using e-cigarettes or ‘vaping’ are unknown and public health experts have different views on whether they are effective as a smoking cessation tool”.

“This is not a smoking cessation aid that should be embraced by all smokers in the community, it is a last resort prescription for people who have already tried evidence-based smoking cessation options and not succeeded.

“GPs will be able to prescribe e-cigarettes for patients who have tried to quit smoking but failed again and again.”

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23 Comments

  1. Mary Jones
    20/06/2020

    Save the people from nicotine but let them die in bushfires! Latest IPCC climate models show a 7 degree celsius land temperature increase by 2100 but if it’s the government killing you that’s fine! Empire at it’s finest! The absurdity is shocking.

    • Damien Roberts
      23/06/2020

      meanwhile thredbo having it’s best early season snow falls…

      • Mary Jones
        23/06/2020

        Meanwhile Siberia is having it’s hottest summer ever. Weather is not climate…

        • Damien Roberts
          23/06/2020

          If that is true, why do climate alarmists constantly talk about weather? Can’t have it both ways.

          • Mary Jones
            24/06/2020

            They don’t, they talk about long term climate trends not weather.

  2. DrAbbate
    20/06/2020

    TGA has to believe fairy tales to justify this policy. Smoking goes down anywhere vaping increases, especially among youth. https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/28/6/629

  3. sean sullivan
    21/06/2020

    well looks like i will have to go back to smoking

  4. Tony Barron
    21/06/2020

    Greg Hunt should go back to picking fruit for a living. This is likely to drive vaping underground into the illicit trade and illegal black market. Crazy this is 2020, not 1920.

    • Tim Palmer
      22/06/2020

      Wht go underground to vape when you can happily buy cigarettes.

    • Nick
      27/06/2020

      Don’t know how he got the job, does he have ANY experience in any field of healthcare

      • Tony Barron
        27/06/2020

        Following the resignation of Sussan Ley as Health Minister, Turnbull appointed Hunt as the Minister for Health and the Minister for Sport.[13]

      • Tony Barron
        27/06/2020

        Controversy[edit]
        In June 2017 Hunt, Michael Sukkar and Alan Tudge faced the possibility of being prosecuted for contempt of court after they made public statements criticising the sentencing decisions of two senior judges while the government was awaiting their ruling on a related appeal.[17][18] They avoided prosecution by, eventually, making an unconditional apology to the Victorian Co

      • Tony Barron
        27/06/2020

        Qualified I’m sure in Law more than Health, or sport. Pretty Easy to find…

        • Nick
          25/08/2020

          I too can copy and paste from wikipedia
          It was a rhetorical statement expressing disbelief that he was given the job by his buddies despite his routine lacklustre (to phrase it lightly) performance and aforementioned lack of relevant experience or qualifications in health

          Much like the aged care minister who also has no experience nor qualifications in health, who’s recent performance has led to the needless deaths of a large number of aged care patients

  5. Michael Bourke
    22/06/2020

    OMFG Seriously? Do they not realise the damage that this decision will do? So many people who rely on Nicotine E Products as genuine smoking cessation will revert now to the much more scientifically proven nicotine found in cigarettes, which I notice there is no ban on! I am not a conspiracy theorist, but!! The re-classification is in part due to the pressure from the tobacco lobby, and the government not getting its cut from the taxes it applies to cigarettes etc. Such a short-sighted and narrow minded approach. Then again not surprised by this Government!

    • Jarrod McMaugh
      22/06/2020

      FYI nothing has changed, this just extends the current bans.

      If you ask your GP for a prescription, you can import for personal use for 12 months. To facilitate this, send a scanned copy of your script to the company you are purchasing your e-cigarette from and ask them to print it and put it in your package. This way, if it *is* intercepted, they can see the prescription, and let it through.

      You are legally allowed to import for personal use (not sale) if you have a valid prescription.

      It may also be worth carrying your script with you if you are worried about having your ite, confiscated. A script lasts 12 months from the time it is written, and allows you to possess nicotine for personal use via pulmonary delivery (ie heat-not-burn) even if you cant get it dispensed by your local pharmacy.

      a script does not – however – allow you to use a vape (or similar) in places where smoking is illegal.

      • Papz
        22/06/2020

        The new proposed law states with a prescription you still cannot import nicotine….

      • Tim Palmer
        22/06/2020

        FYI everything has changed. Having a prescription will no longer allow importation. Make no mistake there will be one major change from this decision… cigarette smoking rates will go up. Terrific

        • Jarrod McMaugh
          24/06/2020

          Yes

          I missed this part

          “You are no longer permitted to import nicotine for use in e-cigarettes directly from an overseas supplier without a valid import permit.”

          This is unusual, as there has always been a specific allowance for people to important medicines for personal use with a prescription unless it is a banned item or a narcotic.

          This will require a company to sponsor a product for use in Australia – not an easy matter to organise

      • Damien Roberts
        23/06/2020

        As of 1 July, if you attempt the import of nicotine – even with a prescription – you are liable for a 220,000 fine. Understand yet?

  6. Tim Palmer
    22/06/2020

    So the AMA supports harm reduction when it comes to pill testing… but not vaping. How sensible.

    • Nick
      27/06/2020

      Sensible way to pad their wallets. Let’s be real, they’re just after the money from patients seeking prescriptions for it

  7. Tim Palmer
    22/06/2020

    The AMA’s Dr Chris Zappala thinks the gateway drug to cigarettes is vaping. Can someone tell him there is another widely available gateway drug to cigarettes… it’s cigarettes

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