New Vaping Laws in Australia: Essential Updates for Vapers

New Vaping Laws in Australia: Essential Updates for Vapers

Starting 1 July 2024, Australia's vaping landscape is set for a major overhaul with the implementation of the Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Act 2024. These changes bring a unified national framework for the importation, manufacture, supply, possession, and advertisement of all vapes. Here’s what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve.

What’s Changing on 1 July 2024?

Access to Vapes

  • No More Vapes in Convenience Stores: Non-pharmacy retailers, like tobacconists, vape shops, and convenience stores, will no longer be able to sell any type of vape. This means you’ll need to change where you get your supplies.
  • Pharmacy-Only Therapeutic Vapes: Therapeutic vapes will still be available from pharmacies but only where deemed clinically appropriate.
  • Prescription Required: To buy vapes containing nicotine or zero-nicotine substances, you’ll need a prescription from a medical or nurse practitioner.
  • Limited Flavours: Therapeutic vape flavours will be limited to mint, menthol, and tobacco—no more exotic flavors for now.

Supply Chain Controls

  • Goodbye Single-Use Vapes: The domestic manufacture, supply, and possession of non-therapeutic and disposable single-use vapes will be outlawed.
  • Pharmaceutical Channels Only: Only established pharmaceutical supply chains can distribute and supply vapes. Non-pharmacy retailers are completely out of the picture.
  • Strict Import Regulations: All vapes must meet TGA regulatory requirements, including strict rules on labels, packaging, ingredients, and flavours. Importers will need a customs license and permit.
  • No DIY Mixing: Pharmacists can only dispense finished vaping products, not ingredients for home mixing.

Enhanced Compliance and Enforcement

  • Tougher Border Controls: The Australian Border Force (ABF) and TGA will enforce new regulations at the border. Unauthorized vaping products will be seized and destroyed.
  • Unified Enforcement: A National Vaping Enforcement Framework will ensure consistent enforcement across all states and territories.
  • Spotting Illicit Vapes: Enhanced measures will make it easier to detect and disrupt the illicit vape trade, reducing illegal market activities.

Advertising Ban

  • No More Vape Ads: The new laws ban all forms of advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of vapes across all media platforms, including social media.
  • Informed Digital Platforms: The TGA has alerted major social media and digital platforms about these new advertising restrictions.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

  • Stiff Penalties: From 1 July 2024, new criminal and civil penalties come into effect. Offenders face up to 7 years in jail per offence and/or fines up to $21.91 million per violation.
  • Commercial Focus: The reforms target commercial entities in the unlawful supply chain, not individual users.
  • Report Violations: The TGA encourages the public to report any suspected breaches or shady practices involving the importation, manufacture, supply, and advertising of vapes.

Patient Access to Therapeutic Vapes

  • Current Prescriptions: Until 30 September 2024, patients will still need a prescription to buy therapeutic vaping substances from pharmacies.
  • Easier Access Post-September: From 1 October 2024, therapeutic vapes with nicotine concentrations of 20 mg/mL or less will be available without a prescription to adults if a pharmacist assesses it as appropriate.
  • Continued Restrictions for Minors: Patients under 18 and those needing higher nicotine concentrations will still require a prescription.

Looking Forward

These reforms are part of the broader National Tobacco Strategy 2023-2030, which aims to cut down on tobacco and vape use across Australia. Detailed information on these changes will be available on the TGA's Vaping Hub from 1 July 2024.

As these new laws roll out, it’s crucial for vapers and businesses to stay informed and compliant. By understanding and adhering to these new regulations, you’ll not only avoid hefty penalties but also contribute to a healthier community while ensuring access to therapeutic vapes for those who need them.