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Vapes are set to become prescription only, with fines of ‘up to $11 million’

A new set of strict regulations will have businesses facing a fine of up to $11 million for stocking banned vapes.

Effective from October 1 2021, new laws will also prohibit the purchase of nicotine vape products without a doctor’s prescription.

Pharmacies will stock the nicotine vapes accessible via a prescription. Vape shops, however, will only be allowed to stock non-nicotine vapes, flavours and devices.

Image: Sefa Karacan via Getty Images

The new regulations will ban certain ingredients used in flavouring e-cigarettes, which have been proven to cause long-lasting harm.

Cinnamaldehyde, which creates a cinnamon flavour and acetonin, which creates a creamy flavour, are among the flavouring ingredients that have been banned.

A Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) spokeswoman recently stated that an individual possessing a product that doesn’t comply with the new regulations might face a punishment of up to 5,000 penalty units, or $1,110,000.

A corporation risks up to 50,000 penalty units or $11,100,000.

Banning certain flavours will not only weed out the vaping products which have shown to pose a serious health risk, but will also target vape use amongst teenagers, who are more likely to buy flavoured products.

The TGA notes that the reason for the changes to e-cigarette regulations is to curb the: “significant increase in the use of nicotine e-cigarettes by young people in Australia“.

Between 2015 and 2019, the use of vaping products by Australian youths increased by 96 per cent.

The TGA also notes that: “(t)he changes strike a balance between the need to prevent young people from taking up nicotine e-cigarettes while allowing current smokers to access these products for smoking cessation on their doctor’s advice.“.

Besides obtaining a doctor’s script to purchase e-cigarettes from a pharmacy, individuals may rely on the Personal Importation Scheme.

The scheme allows doctors to grant certain e-cigarette users a prescription, of three months or less, to purchase vapes from overseas websites.