Australian Regulatory Authority for Therapeutic Products warns of counterfeit vapes proliferation

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From October 1st, vapers in Australia will only be able to buy vaping products by prescription in pharmacies.

Last year, Australia’s Federal Minister of Health Greg Hunt announced a new measure that bans the import of nicotine-containing liquids. A few months later, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced its final decision on the measure: “… the import of nicotine e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine for vaporizing requires a doctor’s prescription.”

To this end, vapers in Australia have only been able to buy prescription vaping products in pharmacies since October 1st. While retailers in neighboring New Zealand and most other countries are able to responsibly sell nicotine products over the counter, anyone violating Australia’s strict regulations faces hefty fines and, in some cases, jail terms.

Many tobacco harm reduction experts have highlighted that as a result of this ban, many vapers would either switch back to smoking or illegally purchase their preferred products. “At the moment, very few vapers have a prescribed prescription. Most nicotine items are imported without a prescription or bought on the black market. If the new regulations are poorly followed, some will return to smoking while others buy supplies on the black market. Neither are good results, ”read a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald by renowned tobacco control experts Alex Woodak and Colin Mendelsohn.

And it is not surprising that reports of such actions are already circulating. The Therapeutic Products Act (TGA) warns consumers that counterfeit nicotine vapor products are advertised and sold online. Similarly, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has raised concerns that young people can still illegally purchase single-use vapes

Australia is making no progress in reducing smoking rates

In a recent interview on ABC, Wodak explained how Australia is taking the wrong approach to nicotine-safe alternatives, causing it to lag behind other countries in terms of smoking rates rather than making progress. Comparing it to Norway as an example, the expert said that while the two countries have similarly strict tobacco regulations, Norway has been successful in reducing smoking rates, while Australia has not.

Both countries have banned smoking in public places and all marketing of tobacco products. Both countries have introduced simple packaging requirements for tobacco products, if at all Australia introduced them first in 2012, followed by Norway in 2018.

However, while both countries saw a significant decrease in smoking rates between 2001 and 2018, the percentage of daily smokers in Australia fell from 22% to 14%, while Norway’s rates, which were 30% higher at the start of the study, fell to 12% are. . The driving factor behind Norway’s success? Advocacy of snus as a safer nicotine alternative, while in Australia snus and other forms of smokeless tobacco for ingestion remain illegal.

Hong Kong warned against reconsidering the vape ban due to lack of success in Australia


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