E-cigarette import ban set to continue

Paul Osborne
Australians with a prescription will still be able to vape using vaporiser nicotine e-cigarettes

The federal government is extending a ban on the importation of e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine unless prescribed by a doctor.

The ban will remain in place for 12 months to allow for public consultation on the regulation of nicotine products by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The TGA is considering an amendment to the Poisons Standard, which would mean vaporiser nicotine products would require a valid prescription.

A final decision is expected to be announced early in 2021.

Under the ban, Australians would still be able to vape using vaporiser nicotine-containing e-cigarettes if they have discussed their needs with their doctor and the doctor provides a prescription.

They would get their e-cigarettes or refills via a permission granted by the health department to a doctor or medical supplier who would be able to import the goods using a courier service or by cargo service.

The goods cannot be imported through international mail.

The move has been welcomed by the Australian Medical Association.

"Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and there is no level of tobacco use which is safe," AMA vice president Dr Chris Zappala said.

He said e-cigarettes and vaping were not a healthy alternative to smoking.

Dr Zappala said anyone wanting to quit smoking would find GPs to be a great source of information and advice.