Vaping News

Australian Vape Ban

Ignorance is winning the fight over harm reduction down under - smokers will die.

Share on:
Nicotine liquids and electronic cigarettes prefilled with nicotine are effectively banned in Australia. Rather than embrace the enlightened approach in Britain, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) are following minority arguments into a dark age. A total ban looms, and with it harsh punishments for those trying to reduce harm.

The TGA write: “In the states and territories, it is an offence to manufacture, sell or supply nicotine as Schedule 7 poison without a licence or specific authorisation. This means e-cigarettes containing nicotine cannot be sold in any Australian state or territory. Nicotine can be imported by an individual for use as an unapproved therapeutic good (e.g. a smoking cessation aid), but the importer must hold a prescription from an Australian registered medical practitioner and only import not more than 3 months' supply at any one time.”

Should the TGA’s decision to maintain this stance in March, it will only be legal to buy or import nicotine liquids if the person has a prescription from a doctor. According to commentators in Australia, doctors are very reluctant to do this. It means that vaping takes places in a hinterland that avoids direct regulation and risks including shoddy products.

Colin Mendelsohn states: “Australian smokers will be denied access to life-saving technology estimated to have helped millions of smokers to quit overseas. Those most affected will be from lower socio-economic and disadvantaged groups, which have the highest smoking rates and are hardest hit by the cost of smoking.”

The Australian Taxpayers Alliance (ATA) is equally unimpressed: “Despite the overwhelming international evidence of the life-saving capacities of vaping to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Australians, the TGA recently decided to continue sticking their head in the sand and rejected an application from the New Nicotine Alliance to allow Australians to use this technology.”

The ATA describes the ridiculous decision as “pro-cancer”, and given that it will deny safer products to hundreds of thousands of smokers it is hard to see it any other way.

Mendelsohn illustrates the crass nature of the situation: “Vapers who try to quit smoking are branded criminals. The fine for possessing nicotine for vaping in Queensland is up to A$9,108 and the government encourages the public to report any offenders.”

Clive Bates indicates where pro-harm reduction advocates may be heading: “The final decision will be announced on 23 March 2017. We hope the TGA, its advisory committees and the responsible minister reconsider the initial decision, take another look at the evidence and do the right thing: accept the rescheduling.  As I think our papers show, it will be hard to defend the decision in parliament or the courts.”

Currently the Australian government earns £12 from every £17 pack of cigarette sale. While some may be generous and say that these decisions are in the interests of the public, it is easy to see how allegations that they’re simply acting to protect their tax revenue arise. How much of that income is set to be wasted on lawyers if the TGA doesn’t see sense?

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
View Articles

Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

Join the discussion


Parliament Fears Two

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs faced questions from a Conservative MP and, oddly, a member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Vaping News

Harm Reduction For The Rich

The United Kingdom risks becoming a harm reduction country only for the wealthy, according to Michael Landl of the World Vapers’ Alliance

Vaping News

Sacrificing Health For 2p Cut

Tory Government alienates vaping voters with its mission to cut tax by an unaffordable 2p to attract voters by placing a tax on vape products in the forthcoming budget

Vaping News

Scotland Announces Single-Use Vape Action

A ban on the sale and supply of single-use vapes in Scotland is due to come into effect on 1 April 2025, under proposed legislation published today