TGA says ‘Yes’ To Safer Vaping
After trying to totally ban the importation of nicotine vape products into Australia last year, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has reversed its position with new regulations that take effect on 1 October 2021.
Australian consumers can continue to buy their favourite nicotine vape brands from their favorite online vape stores and legally import these vape products into Australia for their own personal use.
The new TGA regulations also allow Australian pharmacies to legally sell nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquids within Australia.
So what’s the catch, and why the apparent turn-around from the TGA?
You Need A Nicotine Prescription
You will now need a valid medical prescription to obtain nicotine e-cigarettes and nicotine vape products for use in Australia.
Nicotine prescriptions have been required for the past few years, so this is not actually new, however it is now more likely to be enforced.
Your prescription details will need to be included with any vape supplies you buy online and import into Australia. Likewise, you will need to provide your nicotine prescription to any Australian pharmacy that can dispense nicotine vape products to you.
For international vape purchases, the Australian Border Force will be tasked with enforcing the prescription requirement at ‘the border’ and may seize any non-compliant nicotine vape deliveries that do not include the prescription information.
How To Get A Nicotine Prescription
Nicotine prescriptions are now more readily available in Australia, and can be obtained from a number of Australian-registered GPs.
Not all GPs are supportive of vaping, however this is starting to change with both the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) now publicly supporting vaping as a means to quit smoking.
If you do not have a supportive GP, there are plenty of other good Australian doctors available to help. Some require an in-person face to face appointment, however many doctors now provide phone or online telehealth appointments.
These Telehealth appointments are often fully covered by Medicare and your nicotine prescription can be provided electronically by SMS or email.
Here are some options for you to consider:
- QuitClinics is an online medical clinic specialising in helping smokers quit.
- ATHRA has a growing list of doctors who can help.
Why Do You Need A Nicotine Prescription?
It’s important to know that the TGA classifies Nicotine as a Schedule 4 Prescription Only Medicine, and obviously realises that plenty of smokers are addicted to it.
Being part of the Australian Government Department of Health, the TGA is rightly concerned about the health of Australians. After the political backlash last year, the TGA seems to have accepted two important pragmatic arguments put forward by the vaping community.
Firstly, vaping is a less harmful way to consume nicotine than smoking tobacco cigarettes; and secondly, vaping can be used as a means for smokers to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes and even wean themselves off their nicotine addiction.
Rather than duplicate the marketplace that exists for the sale of tobacco cigarettes, the TGA have opted for regulation through doctors prescribing nicotine, and allowing international vape stores and local Australian pharmacies to fulfill the prescriptions.
The rationale for the requirement for a prescription is to prevent the use of nicotine vape products by non-smokers, particularly youth and young adults; and to provide an opportunity for consumers to receive appropriate medical advice on the use of, and risks associated with, these products.
TGO 110 - The New Product Standard
As part of the new regulations, the TGA has released TGO 110, the new Australian product standard for the previously ungoverned world of vape products.
TGO 110 covers nicotine vape products purchased online for personal importation into Australia as well as vape products to be supplied by Australian pharmacies.
For all vape products, TGO 110 now mandates the Ingredient Requirements:
- Nicotine can be the only active ingredient;
- Nicotine concentration must be between 90% to 110% of what is stated on the label;
- Nicotine concentrations must be less than or equal to 100 mg/mL (ie Maximum 10% nicotine by volume); and
- No prohibited ingredients can be added to the products.
For pharmacy-supplied products, TGO 110 specifies the Labelling and Packaging requirements for products sold by pharmacies in Australia. This includes child-safe packaging to prevent children from accidentally ingesting nicotine ingredients.
Personal Importation Scheme
The Personal Importation Scheme is a defined set of rules to regulate the import into Australia of therapeutic goods for personal use. The conditions for the import of nicotine e-cigarettes and nicotine liquid products into Australia are:
- Australians can import up to a maximum of a 3 month supply of nicotine vape products;
- The nicotine products must be for yourself or a member of your immediate family;
- You must not supply, sell or give the nicotine products to any other person;
- Where possible, you must keep the products in their original packaging with labels intact;
- The total quantity of the goods imported within a 12 month period must not exceed 15 months supply of the goods; and
- You must have a valid prescription from an Australian-registered medical practitioner for the nicotine.
So It’s A Big ‘Yes’ to Safer Vaping
Previously faced with vaping being ‘banned’, Australian vapers can now enjoy safer vaping with high quality vape ingredients in better labelled products with safer packaging.
Tobacco smokers who want to quit can get medical advice from doctors who care, and can turn to vaping as a less harmful option than smoking.
At PodVapes, our purpose is to help smokers quit tobacco smoking. We do this by providing the world’s best brands of high quality vape products at good prices and backed by our world famous customer service and support.
As such, we’re happy to support the TGA and the new regulatory framework.
If you would like to learn more, please see these Nicotine Prescription FAQs on the PodVapes website.
Here are direct links to the TGA website.TGO 110 Guidance for Therapeutic Goods (Standard for Nicotine Vaping Products) (PDF)