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Australia's New Vaping Laws: What You Need to Know
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Australia's New Vaping Laws: What You Need to Know

Australia is set to undergo significant changes in vaping regulations starting 1 July 2024, with the new Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Act 2024 coming into effect. These reforms aim to create a consistent national framework for the importation, manufacture, supply, possession, and advertisement of all vapes. Here’s a breakdown of what Australian vapers need to be aware of.

 

Major Changes Effective 1 July 2024

How You Access Vapes:

  • Retail Restrictions: Non-pharmacy retailers, such as tobacconists, vape shops, and convenience stores, will be banned from selling any type of vape.
  • Pharmacy Availability: Therapeutic vapes will continue to be available from pharmacies, provided they are deemed clinically necessary.
  • Prescription Requirements: Purchasing vapes containing nicotine or zero-nicotine substances will now require a prescription from a medical or nurse practitioner.
  • Flavor Limitations: The range of flavours for therapeutic vapes will be restricted to mint, menthol, and tobacco.

Supply Chain Regulations:

  • Ban on Disposable Vapes: The domestic manufacture, supply, and commercial possession of non-therapeutic and disposable single-use vapes will be prohibited.
  • Pharmaceutical Supply Only: Only established pharmaceutical supply chains will be authorized to distribute and supply vapes. Non-pharmacy retailers will be excluded from selling any vapes, including existing stock.
  • Strict Import Rules: Vapes can only be imported, manufactured, possessed, or supplied if they meet Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulatory requirements, which include stringent rules on product labels, packaging, ingredients, and flavours. Importers must also hold a customs license and permit.
  • Finished Products Only: Pharmacies can only dispense finished vaping products, not ingredients for home mixing.

Enforcement and Compliance:

  • Tighter Border Controls: The Australian Border Force (ABF) will work with the TGA to enforce the new regulations at the border, seizing and destroying unauthorized vaping products.
  • Unified National Approach: A National Vaping Enforcement Framework will ensure consistent enforcement actions across all states and territories.
  • Detection of Illicit Vapes: The new measures will make it easier to identify and disrupt illegal vape trading, reducing opportunities for unlawful market activities.

Advertising Ban:

  • Complete Advertising Ban: All forms of advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of vapes will be banned across all media platforms, including social media.
  • Digital Platform Compliance: The TGA has informed major social media and digital platforms about these new advertising restrictions to ensure compliance.

Penalties for Violations:

  • Severe Penalties: From 1 July 2024, violators will face new criminal and civil penalties, including up to 7 years in jail per offence and/or fines up to $21.91 million per contravention.
  • Focus on Commercial Entities: The reforms target commercial entities involved in the unlawful supply chain, not individual users.
  • Encouraging Reports: The TGA encourages the public to report any suspected breaches or unethical practices related to the importation, manufacture, supply, and advertising of vapes.

Access to Therapeutic Vapes

  • Prescription Requirement Until September: Until 30 September 2024, patients will still need a prescription to purchase therapeutic vaping substances from pharmacies.
  • Simplified Access Starting October: From 1 October 2024, therapeutic vapes with nicotine concentrations of 20 mg/mL or less will be available without a prescription to adults if assessed as appropriate by a pharmacist.
  • Ongoing Restrictions for Minors: Patients under 18 and those requiring higher nicotine concentrations will still need a prescription.

Future Outlook

These reforms are part of the broader National Tobacco Strategy 2023-2030, which aims to reduce tobacco and vape use across Australia. Detailed information on these changes will be available on the TGA's Vaping Hub from 1 July 2024.
As the new laws come into effect, it’s important for vapers and businesses to stay informed and compliant. By adhering to these new regulations, you’ll not only avoid severe penalties but also contribute to a healthier community while ensuring that those in need can still access therapeutic vapes.