General Practitioners guidelines endorse vaping

The Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA) has welcomed updated guidelines released today by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) supporting vaping as a quitting aid for smoking patients.

Under the new guidelines, GPs and other health professionals can recommend vaping for smokers who have failed to quit smoking with the available treatments when patients raise the subject of vaping, Dr Joe Kosterich, a GP and Chairman of ATHRA said today.

“Vaping is now the most popular quitting aid globally and has helped millions of smokers quit the deadly addiction. The RACGP is to be congratulated for this breakthrough shift in policy which reflects the growing evidence base for vaping.

“The RACGP’s endorsement is a game-changer and vaping is a welcome tool for GPs and other health professionals” said Dr Kosterich.

Dr Kosterich said he hoped the updated guidelines will give health professionals greater confidence to recommend nicotine vaping as an effective cessation pathway for smokers.

“It is legal to vape nicotine in Australia if a patient has a nicotine prescription from a medical practitioner.

“Vaping is not risk-free, but according to the UK Royal College of Physicians is at least 95% less harmful than smoking as it does not contain the multitude of chemicals which are created from burning tobacco.”

“It is no surprise that smokers who switch to vaping show substantial improvements in both respiratory and cardiovascular health and have a dramatically reduced risk of cancer.

Dr Kosterich said Australia needs to have an evidence-led discussion on the use of nicotine vaping as an effective quit smoking aid, and today’s announcement by the RACGP should be listened to and acted on by public health officials.

“The current strategy isn’t working. More than 21,000 Australians, or two out of every three smokers, will die prematurely this year as a result of a smoking-related illness.

“International experience is that vaping is a sensible substitute for adult smokers unable to quit smoking or nicotine with currently available treatments and today’s announcement will ultimately save lives.”


Dr Joe Kosterich
M: 0417 998 697 | E:

Conjoint Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn
M: 0415 976 783 | E:

What is ATHRA?

Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA) is a registered health promotion

charity established to reduce the harm from tobacco smoking in Australia. ATHRA aims to raise awareness of less harmful alternatives for adult smokers who are otherwise unable to quit. ATHRA’s broader goal is to encourage the complete cessation of tobacco smoking in Australia. For more information, visit

ATHRA is funded by public donations and not accept donations from tobacco companies or their subsidiaries. To establish ATHRA as a registered charity, in 2017 we accepted some financial support from the small business vape retail sector. ATHRA has not accepted vape industry funding since March 2019.

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