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An update on the new vaping regulations

Posted on October 9, 2020

THE THERAPEUTIC GOODS ADMINISTRATION held some webinars this week to update stakeholders on the new regulations on vaping and nicotine. The news from Professor Skerritt (pictured) was mixed.

The proposed regulations are based on the changes to nicotine in the Poisons Standard announced in the interim decision on 23 September 2020. Submissions are now open for further comments on this decision until 6 November. A final decision from the TGA is due in mid-December. The changes are then expected to be introduced on 1 April or 1 June 2021.

The good news

  • It will be easier for doctors to prescribe nicotine than originally proposed. Doctors can apply once for an authority to write prescriptions for nicotine, which will be valid for 5 years under the Authorised Prescriber scheme. Approval for each individual patient will no longer be needed. The prescription will be valid for 12 months.
  • There are no limits on the nicotine strength, flavours and format of e-liquids imported eg pods or bottles. However, this could change and further restrictions may be included in the final decision in mid-December.
  • The TGA is planning to have training for interested doctors and pharmacists
  • If your local pharmacy does not stock nicotine liquid, you may be able to purchase it from an online pharmacies.

The bad news

  • The TGA is committed to a prescription model because of safety issues from vaping and nicotine, the teen vaping ‘epidemic’ and because visiting a GP could also provide extra support and advice to aid the quitting attempt.
  • The TGA remains concerned about the ‘great dangers’ of nicotine and vaping. Professor Skerritt raised concerns about child poisoning and claimed that ‘Nicotine is not great stuff’ and ‘is quit a harmful substance’.  Most vapers would disagree. In the doses used for vaping, nicotine is relatively benign and child poisoning is extremely rare.
    He is convinced that vaping is a gateway for youth and believes the rate of youth uptake is ‘frightening’. Professor Skerritt also said nicotine is harmful to adolescents, although there is no evidence of this in humans (only animals).
  • There will be no regulation of vaping product safety or quality as is required in the UK, US and soon to start in New Zealand. This is surprising as Greg Hunt said that child poisoning is ‘primarily caused by imported products of dubious safety and quality’. However, there appears to be no plan to change this.
  • The cost of vaping will increase. There will be no international courier costs but there will be added costs from the importer, medical visits and pharmacy markup.
  • It is likely that there will be a substantial reduction in the variety of products available. E-liquids will be imported by pharmacy wholesalers or importing companies. You may not be able to get your preferred flavours or prefilled pods.
  • Professor Skerritt said that vape shops will still be able to sell hardware and nicotine-free liquids, so business will not be affected. This seems very unlikely.
    Currently many vapers purchase flavoured liquids from the vape shop and add their own 100mg/ml nicotine to it. If vapers purchase premixed nicotine liquid from the pharmacy, there will be no need to purchase local juices which vape shops rely on for profitability. It is unclear if 100mg/ml nicotine will be available for importation for DIY mixing.

Make a submission

You can have your say on the interim decision which is available here.

Submissions can be made here. The closing date for submissions is 6 November 2020.

Posted by Colin Mendelsohn,

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6 Replies to “An update on the new vaping regulations”

Rudolf Steenkamp

Not the way to do it.
Regulate the product like alcohol and tobacco. Ensure we get consistent and safe to use product.


When children can just as easily be poisoned by quit related products in the same manner of e-juice and nicotine, ie by irresponsible adults. It is plain and simply laughable this can be justified by having a prescription based model. Whilst letting nicotine based Quit products. What’s missing and needs a mention is as well the problem be that food, drink and anything irresponsible adults can leave lying around. Again like alcohol, cleaning products and endless, numerous other products and consumables that could poison a child in such a manner. This has been conveniently left out of the conversation altogether. The outcry with nicotine and e-juices has been so overblown and sensationalised, mentioned is the factor of ingesting this substance, but the actuality in related numbers of toddlers dying from ingesting nicotine and e-juice you’d have more chance of being hit by lightning, than an irresponsible adult poisoning toddlers with this. I’m sure there have been deaths related to cigarettes been left loosely lying around. There have been cases of irresponsibility like this but on that list of toddlers consuming nicotine and e-juice would pale in comparison to any pharmaceutical or cleaning product left lying around to drink, and how does a prescription based model fix this?? Tell me? As any dummy can tell you prescription based medicines can be left lying around aimlessly on the floor!
So what has this solution done to combat that?

There is a common theme of late to demonise something when you have a feeble argument and nothing to address anything in particular with real solid evidence, but to scare and alarm people painting the issue with the brainwashing cry that children will drink it and teenagers will take it up. Thus to dramatise a point and sensationalises those to overreacting. For reasons none other than to make it appear the way of vaping is more dangerous than cigarette smoking. A point as well skewed bias studies against
Independent, truth based studies (not government funded biased studies) have been bringing to light compelling arguments for vaping being an effective smoking cessation aid to the contrary of studies just wanting to have negative based stats to highlight what agenda fits their narrative. After what has been debunked and all you have to resort to alone being the children and teenager uptake in arguments. You are then clutching at straws, and the message becomes a shock and awe style technique designed to scare adults of children and teenagers into a fog of desperate emotional distress. Pandering to your belief that this organisation has your children and teenagers best interests at heart. Without even giving the breakdown of any statistics or balance the equation with the teenager up taking the major corn of actual cigarette smoking. As well do not address to the standard and do not apply the same method to cigarette smoking, tells me everything I need to know about to where their interests lie and who they have their best interests at heart in.
The contradiction here is glowingly like a fluorescent light and if you still believe it’s about the children and teenagers. Ask yourself when teenagers start taking up smoking, where was the prescription model aligned with the vaping model when they made a song and dance about vaping leading to smoking. Being a vaper for 6 years as god as my witness, never have I met someone even now who has gone from vaping to smoking. If you have knowledge and experience on this subject it’s highly likely the case a cigarette smoker is fed up with smoking cigarettes that turns to vaping as a way out to rid themselves of smoking cigarettes and feeling affected in health by all the toxic chemicals in smokes. If they do it is a rarity and once again alike it with this time knowing someone who has been hit by lighting. Even if they have experimented. The important detail left out and not mentioned by any concerned official speaking out against e-cigarettes is. “How many of those who tried it, continued to keep vaping”. An important detail always left out and not addressed by those who use this as ammunition to highlight teenager uptake in Vaping. If you are going to have evidence of that you would assume you would want to know if those uptakes are continuing doing it. That of course makes a big difference. Just because it’s been tried once does not give a true reflection of the data to the argument of uptake, if your not asking if information they continue to still use is left out. That is the more valuable statistic than a stat that just gives a one size fits all on the basis they tried it once and didn’t like it. Because being a smoker it’s an acquired taste you only really appreciate because you are looking for a way out of smoking cigarettes.

Oddly enough you hear nothing and there is no interest to look into it. Even be it smoking cigarettes alone is just about the biggest cause of deaths you’ll ever find and evidently proven so as well. But you can purchase In example at a supermarket. No prescription needed or for that matter I stress again.

This will hurt those who are running proper vaping stores and who adhere to the rules and are legitimate and take seriously to sell to minors. There business depends on that they know the government is just waiting for that perfect reason to shut them down. But these small Mum and dad industries, not corporates like the Tobaccos and Pharmaceuticals are going to suffer, while the later 2 corporates will thrive and what the government and organisations eg TGA will make exceptions and excuses for. Take advantage of the situation with a prescription based model, with an inferior product, little to no choice with inflated prices and then have the gall to say it won’t affect the vaping industry here.

With an economy that is worse than the Great Depression you think the Government and even Government bodies, organisations and bureaucrats would be either working with, encouraging and helping industries of all kinds survive. There is a simple solution to this and it can be regulated just like it is around the world, and successfully at that!

But here in Australia we live in backwards land and have the toughest and most over regulated conditions, bewildering why vaping has been exempt from this? It just comes down to those who govern it’s a what suites them, not a what suites you. We elect them, we work to pay taxes to pay them, create government bodies and pay public servants in government roles. What do they do for us? Remove another freedom of choice you had and try to convince you it’s for your greater good.

Shari Tagliabue

Every ‘fear’ or ‘concern’ by government aren’t substantiated by fact and have been discredited by authorative sources ie teen vaping numbers – a cherry-picked stat of those who had ‘ever’ tried vaping from a study that showed actual current use is minimal.
So, the upshot is that vapers will not get regulated products but will pay more for them due to markup.
Do you see why there is no confidence in the government getting this right?
Leave things as they are and not only remove the onerous doctor and pharmacy involvement but allow Vape shops to sell the products we currently import from overseas, thereby promoting local businesses.

Andrew Thompson

"Professor Skerritt said that vape shops will still be able to sell hardware and nicotine-free liquids, so business will not be affected. This seems very unlikely. .. If vapers purchase premixed nicotine liquid from the pharmacy, there will be no need to purchase local juices which vape shops rely on for profitability."

Not only will many shops shut down due to loss of income from the consumables (0 nicotine e-liquid), but fewer smokers will consider vaping, and some current vapers will go back to smoking. This will vastly limit the potential of the local market.

Once many of the Brick'n'Mortar shops shut down, this will remove the option to walk into a shop and physically hold a vape in their hand (e.g. to check for size or 'feel' or airiness or..) & further nobbles the potential of vaping to get smokers switched over to a reduced risk alternative.

This scheme is a bureaucratic cluster-f*ck, but one wonders if that is an 'unintended side-effect' or a 'feature'.


I'm not a scientist or pharmacist, just a normal person. I am a smoker who has unsuccessfully quit in several occassions and find vaping to be my answer.
Yes it's unknown the long term affects of vaping but it's safer than smoking. Nicotine may be categorised as poison but I've been told it's used in a number of medications that are prescribed and has been for years. (Hear-say maybe but more than likely true).
Like most things the outcome is unbalanced and all scientific findings should be taken into account before rulings are made .
Tests of passive smoking, how were they performed? Pubs, smoking rooms or in normal situations?
I do agree with many of the don't smoke in these areas etc rules but when I became an addict it was acceptable, advertised and ok, now you are telling me it's not! I am now being treated like an illicit drug addict now, but it's legal, …..whose fault is it? My will power may be weak, but all I did was take up an addictive habit because it was offered too me.

There are countries that prefer you to vape than smoke, E.g.NZ.
that's why vaping products are readily available there but managed. Price of cigarettes high like here, but vaping approved, unlike here.


Nicotine is dangerous because of the potential of child poisoning? Give me a break. The bottle of bleach sitting in my laundry is way more dangerous than nicotine liquid. Obviously any responsible adult would keep it out of reach. This argument is highly telling of the contempt with which bureaucratic "experts" treat ordinary citizens. We're all foolish, irresponsible idiots to them. If they had their way, they'd ban everything but the kitchen sink and have us all in bed by 7.30 (without dessert no doubt because of the "unhealthy" sugar content).

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