Media release

AMA supports major reforms to end retail vaping in Australia

The Australian Medical Association has supported a proposed overhaul to vaping laws, which would put an end to the retail sale of vapes in Australia and help people kick the dangerous and addictive habit.

Vaping device

Under reforms proposed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the importation, manufacture and sale of vaping products — regardless of nicotine content — would be banned outside of therapeutic use prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacist.

In a submission to the TGA, the AMA has supported the proposed reforms, which include the use of plain, pharmaceutical-like packaging with warning signs for vaping products.

AMA President Professor Steve Robson praised the TGA for using expert medical, public health and scientific advice to guide reforms.

He also commended the federal government for taking an important step in the fight against tobacco and nicotine addiction by introducing new reforms to Parliament this month.

“The AMA welcomes the federal government’s strong action against smoking and vaping addiction. The government has listened to the advice of the AMA and public health experts and is closing loopholes and exposing blind spots exploited by the predatory tobacco industry,” Professor Robson said.

“We are in a situation where kids are becoming so addicted, they are hitting the vape in school yards and classrooms.

“This is an entirely unacceptable situation — but it’s not the kids’ fault. This crisis is on the hands of big tobacco and the industry’s insidious tactics to lure kids with bright colours, fruity flavours and false assertions the products are free of nicotine.”

The reforms will include legislative changes to allow Commonwealth, state and territory governments to enforce the new rules with criminal offences, civil penalties and improved information sharing, among other measures.

Professor Robson said there was no strong evidence to suggest vaping is an effective smoking cessation tool, despite the best attempts of irrational proponents who claim the opposite.

“The AMA’s support for the TGA’s proposed reforms is based on cold, hard evidence, which shows people who vape are three times more likely to take up smoking than people who have never vaped, and that former smoking addicts who vape are more likely to relapse,” Professor Robson said.

The TGA’s reforms include many long-standing AMA proposals, including limits on the flavours and volume of nicotine that can be prescribed or ordered and ending the personal importation scheme, which is a major loophole in the current system.

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