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The Australian government is pushing ahead with a plan to ban nearly all imports of e-cigarettes into the country from next month.
From 1 July, people won't be able to get e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine (nicotine liquids and salts) or nicotine-containing refills unless they have a prescription from their doctor.
Many people have resorted to importing these products due to Australia's legislation on their sale - however it looks like they won't be able to get their fix for at least 12 months. The government wants 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.
A statement on the government's website says: "Under the import prohibition, individuals would still be able to vape using vaporiser nicotine-containing e-cigarettes if they have discussed their needs with their doctor and the doctor provides a prescription.
"Individuals would get their vaporiser nicotine-containing e-cigarettes or nicotine-containing refills via a permission granted by the Department of Health to a doctor or medical supplier who would be able to import the goods using a courier service or by cargo service.
"The goods cannot be imported through international mail. Passengers who arrive in Australia with vaporiser nicotine containing e-cigarettes and nicotine-containing refills that match a prescription they are carrying with them, would be exempt from the prohibition.
"The prohibition on imports for e-cigarettes or nicotine-containing refills would be consistent with the existing ban in all state and territories on the sale of e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine."
You'll only be able to get a doctor's prescription if all other measures to quit smoking, like nicotine replacement therapy, have failed.
The import ban has 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.
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