E-Cigarettes Will Finally Become Legal In Australia In June 2021 But Will Be Prescription Only
After years of waiting, vapers could soon finally be allowed to legally vape in Australia from June 2021.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has released an interim decision to reclassify nicotine and has set a date for the middle of next year for the change to come into effect.
But there's a catch (why is there always a catch?)
The e-cigarettes will be prescription-only, meaning you will have to go to your doctor or GP and get their written approval to suck back on the tiny machines.
Not only would e-cigs and e-cigarette liquid require a prescription, but heat-not-burn tobacco products, chewing tobacco, snuff and other novel nicotine products would also need one.
The change hasn't yet been officially confirmed but the TGA is asking for submissions until November 6, according to the Guardian.
The TGA said in a statement: "While you would still be able to use the 'personal importation scheme' under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 to order online from your usual supplier...it would be clear that you would be required to have a prescription.
"You would also be able to fill your prescription at your local community pharmacy, however your pharmacy may have to order it in for you."
South Australia is the only state or territory in Australia where it's not illegal to possess an e-cigarette, with other legislation preventing shops from selling it anywhere.
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Earlier this year, the Australian government announced plans to ban nearly all imports of e-cigarettes into the country.
The Coalition wanted to stop people from getting e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine (nicotine liquids and salts) or nicotine-containing refills unless they have a prescription from their doctor from July 1.
The government wanted the ban to last at least a year to see what the flow-on effects will be, and to allow the public to voice their opinions on the measure.
There was a fierce backlash to the idea and 28 MPs wrote to the government demanding the plan be scrapped.
In late June, just days before the rules were due to kick in, Health Minister Greg Hunt said it would delay imposing the restrictions.
The import ban had the support of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), with a spokesperson saying it's a common sense approach to a potentially dangerous product.
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said: "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."
The RACGP does not endorse vaping due to the lack of long-term data about whether it is okay for the human body. While doctors would prefer no one ingests potentially harmful smoke or vapour, many smokers say switching to vaping has helped them kick a sometimes decades-long cigarette habit.
Featured Image Credit: PA