LVA said: “Your voices are being heard and this is what has driven this change. But we must not stop. The TGA and Greg Hunt are on the back foot and it's all thanks to your efforts! Thank you everyone, for everything you have done to join our fight! This is a great day - but the battle to legalise nicotine in Australia is just beginning!”
The excitement was mirrored by vape company Shosha. A spokesperson said: ““BIG NEWS! The nicotine import ban in Australia has been lifted! Today is a good day for the Aussie Vape Community! The nicotine import ban has been lifted which means you can continue to purchase vaping e-liquids that contain nicotine and continue to stay smoke-free!
"The feedback we are getting from these customers is that the pandemic has had a significant financial impact on many of them and they are looking for alternatives to cigarettes to reduce their expenses. Vaping is used by many smokers to wean themselves off the deadly habit. Here at Shosha, we offer the largest range of high-quality E-Liquid flavours and nicotine strengths in Australia and New Zealand. Our main goal is to give smokers the easiest way to quit smoking."
The TGA’s update announcement on nicotine scheduling and the proposed restriction on importation of nicotine for use in e-cigarettes said: “The Delegate's interim decision published on 23 September 2020 and open for public consultation to 6 November 2020 to include nicotine for all human use in Schedule 4 of the Poisons Standard was made primarily on the basis of two considerations.”
- “To prevent the rapid growth of youth uptake in vaping seen overseas and already occurring in Australia - avoid the ON RAMP for non-smokers especially youth”
- “To facilitate simple and legal access to nicotine containing e-cigarettes for smoking cessation – provide the OFF RAMP for smokers.”
The TGA added: “Pending the final outcome of the process required by law, it has been decided to defer the proposed restriction on importation of nicotine for use in e-cigarettes and, separately, e-cigarette devices (by an amendment to the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956). To proceed, at the present time, with such an amendment, would unnecessarily pre-empt any further deliberations the Delegate is required by the therapeutic goods regulatory scheme to take in reaching a final decision.”
Dr Colin Mendelsohn has been arguing for a more open-minded Australian approach to tobacco harm reduction for years. He has previously described the prescription model as a “de-facto ban” and said it won’t work.
He recently told journalists: “Vaping nicotine has the potential to disrupt the cigarette market and significantly reduce smoking rates in Australia. However, excessively harsh and restrictive regulation as proposed by the Health Minister will reduce its potential impact and lead to more smoking-related deaths. What we need is a balanced regulatory model that makes high-quality and safe vaping products available as consumer products for adult smokers while minimising access to young people.”
“No other western country requires vapers to have a prescription to obtain nicotine liquids. Low concentrations of nicotine liquid are not medicines. They are a safer consumer product used to replace an existing consumer product: lethal cigarettes.”