Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New vaping legislation introduced to Parliament

The Australian government has introduced new vaping legislation to Parliament, said to deliver on the government’s promise to protect children, young people and all Australians from the harms of vaping.

Promoted as being “world leading”, the Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024 bans the importation, manufacture, supply, and commercial possession of disposable single use and non-therapeutic vapes, while preserving legitimate patient access to therapeutic vapes through pharmacy settings for smoking cessation and the management of nicotine dependence, where clinically appropriate.

The bill is the centrepiece of the government’s regulatory reforms. It builds on the government’s measures implemented earlier this year to ban the import of disposable single use and non-therapeutic vapes under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1958 and to implement pre-market controls for therapeutic vapes under therapeutic goods legislation.

The bill also complements the Public Health (Tobacco and Other Products) Act 2023, which the government says underpins its “renewed fight” to reduce smoking and vaping rates and protect future generations from the “devastating consequences” of tobacco use and nicotine addiction.

‘World leading’ response

Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler says the Australian government is taking a “world leading” response to stop the risk that vapes pose to the Australian community, especially young people.

“Vapes were sold to governments and communities around the world as a therapeutic good: a product to help hardened smokers – usually people in their 40s or 50s – to quit smoking and kick the habit,” he says.

“If vapes are therapeutic goods then it’s entirely appropriate that Australia should regulate them as therapeutic goods, instead of allowing them to be sold alongside chocolate bars and bubble gum in convenience stores, often down the road from schools.”

Mr Butler says the only groups who want to regulate and sell vaping products are “those who profit once kids get hooked on nicotine – big tobacco and tobacco retailers”.

“This is a major public health issue. We won’t allow another generation of Australians to be lured into addiction by big tobacco,” he says.

“This bill ensures people can continue to access therapeutic vapes to stop smoking on the advice of their doctor, while putting in place comprehensive laws to control the manufacture, supply and commercial possession of illegal vapes.”

A broader commitment

The government says its vaping reforms are one part of a broader commitment to address the “significant threat” to public health caused by tobacco use and nicotine addiction, and to maintain Australia’s “hard-fought” success in tobacco control.

Several other measures are being implemented to improve health outcomes. These include more help for people to quit smoking and vaping through the development and expansion of national quit support initiatives, increased awareness and education via new public health campaigns, newly developed clinical guidelines from primary health clinicians.

In addition to the new legislation, the National Cancer Screening Register Amendment Bill 2024 is being introduced in Parliament. This will amend the National Cancer Screening Register Act 2016 to include lung cancer in the national cancer screening register.

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