Greg Hunt, Australian health minister has just stated and announced few new policies that would affect vapers to import nicotine. For violators, unfortunately draconian penalties will be imposed. According to the announcement, these new policies shall be implemented and shall take effect by July 1st.
Among all the western democratic countries, Australia is just one of the few that has an outlier position when it comes to vaping. In fact, this country has banned recreational nicotine products with the exception of cigarettes. They have also refused to acknowledge the value of consumer nicotine products like e-cigarettes. Though Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has announced that it would not change their policy to allow sales of heated tobacco products, there is a loophole that allowed vapers to get a nicotine prescription from a doctor for personal use. There are also ways to get nicotine through online retailers from China and other countries.
The new policies that will be implemented by July 1st will be enforced by tandem of Department of Health and the Australian Border Force. According to Greg Hunt, for those who will be caught violating the new policies, brutal penalties will be imposed including fines costing up to 222,000 Australian dollars.
In addition to that, Vapers who have ordered and paid for shipping to Australia will not be excepted from penalties and seizure of the products. In fact, according to TGA’s announcement, nicotine that will be arriving by July 1st onwards will be seized.
According to the new policies, products that are not included in the guidelines and rules are cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapy products. These products could still be purchased in Australia without you having to get a prescription. Yes, medical cessation products do not need prescription. But, take note, that recreational consumer products are required to have one.
Nicotine is still legal however, only those vapers who have prescription coming from a physician. This means, since nicotine could no longer be imported, nicotine will only be available and bought from a pharmacy.
Though there are exemptions, only few Australian doctors are willing to write prescriptions with the execution of the current law and with the implementation of the new law, it is inevitable for more doctors to be unwilling to give nicotine prescription especially when the requirements for one to be able to prescribe are complex and very time consuming.
With this new law, vapers will not be able to import nicotine e-liquid for personal use and only medical supplier and pharmacists could only import nicotine provided they have been given permission by the Department of Health.
There have been suggestions for pharmacists to create nicotine solutions for those vapers who have prescription coming from a physician. If this suggestion or proposal is approved, pharmacists would need to have permission to import and possess nicotine from health departments. Unfortunately, this proposal/suggestion has been denied by all state health departments.
Unless a group of pharmacists are willing to protest to change the law about nicotine possession, the government might consider it. But then, this could not guarantee changes. Take note that, the new policy that is set to be implemented has been designed with airtight regulations that will prevent smokers to be able to access low risk vaping products.
In less than two years, the Australian Liberal party’s position on nicotine has been changing and Greg Hunt has even said that nicotine vaping would never be legal. However, it seems that his attention returned to drug war instantly. Though this is the case, Greg Hunt is still considered as diehard nicotine drug warrior as seen in the new law that will be executed and implemented this coming 1st of July.