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The Journey After October 1

Posted on May 28, 2021

From October 1, 2021, nicotine liquid for vaping will be officially ‘schedule 4 prescription only medicine’. How does that affect you if you are vaper in Australia? Well, in short, you are likely to l face more paperwork, confused doctors, and longer wait times at your GP.

Sadly, smokers in Australia are used to facing labyrinths on their way to quitting, but proposed TGA regulations are set to make this even more arduous. So, here’s a snapshot of what vapers can expect and why this prescription model won’t work.

Get ready to wait and waste time and money

An increasing number of Australian smokers are seeing their friends and family successfully quit smoking using vaping. Naturally, more and more want to do the same, improving their wellbeing and saving a lot of money. But unlike in most western democracies, the Australian wannabe-vaper must first jump through several hoops.

From 1 October, they will need to find a doctor that can prescribe vaping (there are very few), have a consultation (at a cost and potentially a wait period to get in), secure a prescription for nicotine (which the doctor is not allowed to legally specify), find a pharmacist (who will hopefully be able to import and supply it), and finally (after 1-2 weeks) the quitting smoker can vape once their prescription is finally filled.

But the journey doesn’t end there. Vapers will have to go to for more follow-up appointments with their GP to renew their right to stop smoking every six-months.

Quite the contradiction

Doctors don’t have it easier under the incoming regime. State and territory tobacco advertising restrictions apply to novel nicotine products, which means those companies that produce nicotine cannot legally communicate with doctors. Because of this it’s fair to say the doctor may not be making an informed decision about these products and is essentially writing a blank cheque for nicotine when they prescribe vaping.

What other ‘medicine’ can be prescribed this way? Would a patient ever get a prescription that reads ‘antibiotics – whichever you like/know about/can get’? No. But when it comes to vaping that is what doctors will be forced to do.

Missing the point

Vaping sticks out like a sore thumb within the medical prescription model for one obvious reason – it’s not a medicine that should equire exact prescription, dosage, and titration. As in the UK, new Zealand and other country’s vaping should be a consumer product because it is the most effective quit smoking aid.

It could be   a rough ride.

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5 Replies to “The Journey After October 1”


I'm a 43 year d woman I've been smoking cigarettes since I was about 13 years old. After so many failed attempts to give up smoking cigarettes about 2 months ago I tried using a vape to give up smoking cigarettes and it worked I haven't had a cigarette for two months. I've been using a vape a disposable flavour vapes. I strongly disagree with the decision about banning vapes

Michelle Nicolson

What a complete farce! So it’s all ok to still sell cigarettes and take up a huge tax not interested in people’s health just a money spinner for the government! But the excuse to rise price for health basis but the underscore is more money in government coffers! Not to mention alcohol huge variety and thousand of spirits and wine and beer BWS , Liquorland , Dan Murphy’s and smaller retailers open to all over 18 ? Helping many to become abusive and let’s just set it off with $$$$ for the government from gambling this is so hypocritical! A ridiculous outcome! Oh let’s not forget the gambling effect on families and abuse from that area but it’s ok to have an addiction to gambling and privately support it because again $$$ from that addiction! What a completely ludicrous action a ban on something far less criminal than the above as said! There is far more damage to families and children from other addictions and what stamps out one only helps fuel another! HYPOCRITICAL beyond comprehension!

James O

I was always wary of the line 'vape to give up smoking'. Now we have the ludicrous situation of having to see a doctor to get permission to do something recreational, unlike alcohol and caffeine users, under the guise of it being part of a quitting regime. I quit 11 years ago!

Roger Smith

I'm 70 and when I became smoke free 6 years ago taking up vaping, within a week I said goodbye to 2×50 gram packets of tobacco a week, the rasp in the throat, the morning coughing fit, ash, butts, fire, smoke and smelling like an ashtray as my sense of smell and taste returned. As a heavy smoker for years I had stopped smoking altogether for 2 and 4 year stints over the years but it only took one cigarette to resume smoking like I'd never ceased.

Unlike so many of my fellow Australians I take no other drugs medicines analgesics/opioids or imbibe alcohol but nicotine is my drug of choice. I find it the height of hypocrisy that in the ACT that made this stupid vape prescription law it is perfectly legal to possess 50grams of marijuana and imbibe it via burnt vegetable matter. What do these people not understand with harm minimization for nicotine addiction when they happily endorse marijuana smoking and advocate methadone, needle exchanges, pop concert drug testing, opal fuel, low/non alocoholic beverages etc?

I should add while I continue to vape nicotine a female heavy smoker has stopped altogether after 12 months due to my vaping advice while another male friend didn't take to it and continues to smoke like I did in his 70s. It's not the panacea for all yet all three understand fresh air is best. However the harm minimization for the nicotine addicted is undeniable making the prescription legislation so glaringly hypocritical and indefensible.


I smoked since I was 13 and could never stop, now I'm 60. 10 years ego I started vaping and stopped smoking within one week. If I had no vape, I'd to go back to smoking even today, I know it. I tried couple of doctors for prescription, they wanted $150 for it plus the prescription Nic would have to be obtained from a pharmacist (their friend no doubt), and only small amount given so I'd have to keep coming back. Basically turning former smokers to cash cows. It's a joke.
These leaves me with no option but perhaps looking at black market or worse, trying to substitute Nicotine with some chemicals.
Gov needs to legalize Nicotine import for over 18s because what they're doing is making the situation much worse and even dangerous.

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