‘They will shut’: Vape sale ban supported by Senate committee

Chelsea Heaney

9/05/2024 4:16:57 PM

GPs and nurse practitioners could soon be the only legal way to obtain vapes in Australia if the Senate follows its committee’s recommendation.

Person vaping
New laws banning the commercial sale of vapes could be just weeks away.

The Senate Community Affairs Committee had only one recommendation for the vaping reform legislation being put to Parliament – that it be passed.
The committee’s 126-page report, released Wednesday afternoon, came to a one-sentence conclusion in support of the Bill which will overhaul vaping sales and regulation in Australia.
If passed by the Senate in the next few months, unaltered as recommended, the only way to obtain a vape in Australia will be through a prescription from a GP or nurse practitioner.
There have been multiple public hearings on the Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024 since the legislation was first introduced by Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler in March, with 281 submissions also made.
The Bill will introduce a new regulatory framework that will allow state and territory governments to enforce the laws with new offences and civil penalties.
Individuals with personal supplies are not covered by the Bill and will not be targeted.
The Government enacted an import ban on 1 January, but the sale of vapes commercially has not been outlawed yet.
Minister Butler said this next phase of vaping reforms ‘needs to pass the Parliament over the next couple of months’ to rule out ongoing sales.
‘What that will see is those vape stores that have opened down the road from your local school, they will shut,’ he said.
‘We are determined that to the extent this is a therapeutic good, it should be returned to the proper therapeutic pathway, that is through doctors prescribing this where they think it will have a good therapeutic purpose.’
RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins urged politicians to provide bipartisan support.
‘Big Tobacco has created a new generation of people addicted to nicotine, and it has been marketed to our kids,’ she said.
‘It’s been marketed as a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, but we know that vaping has now created a new generation of nicotine dependent Australians.
‘Anyone who’s tried to give up cigarette smoking knows how hard it is, and now we have to get people off vapes, and that that’s not easy without the support of your healthcare team around you.’
The current position of the Nationals was filed in a dissenting report published by the committee which said, ‘the genie is already out of the bottle on vaping’ and that the Government needs to regulate it like they have tobacco and alcohol.
The committee report also included additional comments from the Australian Greens and Coalition Senators.
Coalition Senators raised concerns about black market trading, but in their comments said their final position was reserved while ‘this policy makes its way through our internal processes’. 
The Australian Greens do not support ‘the prohibition of vapes for adults and instead will work towards a carefully regulated scheme’, adding that they will seek to propose their own amendments – particularly on guaranteeing further assurances that personal possession is not criminalised.
Minister Butler was contacted by newsGP about the committee’s recommendation and asked if there would be more support for GPs if there was an influx of nicotine-dependent patients.
The vote on the Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024 is expected to be held in June.
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Dr Anjum Ahmed Shaikh   10/05/2024 7:07:24 AM

Once again it's too little too late. It makes us wonder what took them so long to understand the harmful effects of nicotine and what goes in the vape. To date there is no evidence that heated propylene glycol is safe for human inhalation and will not cause cancer. On the same note, why don't they ban cigarettes too which are much more harmful and disgusting. Is it the lobbying by cigarette companies which is behind stomping out vaping from the market, as they see it as their competitor?