Prescription required to buy Vapes Under New Australian Legislation to Curb Youth Nicotine Addiction

Individuals under 18 will require a prescription to buy vapes, however this is federal law, it will be enforced by state and territory police.

The new generation will be spared the “death and dislocation” of nicotine addiction, says Health Minister Mark Butler, after world-leading vaping reforms passed federal parliament.

The changes, effective from Monday, will restrict the sale of vapes to pharmacies only.

Pharmacists will be allowed to sell vapes with limited nicotine content over the counter, but only after discussing health harms and confirming that the buyer is over 18. This reform aims to protect young people from being hooked on nicotine through vaping.

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“We are not going to stand by and let our new generation be recruited to nicotine addiction, not after all of the death and the dislocation and the grief that we have seen for decades and decades because of tobacco,” Minister Butler stated in parliament on Thursday.

“This product was sold to us as a therapeutic good. It was never presented as a recreational product, particularly not one that would be so cynically, so transparently, marketed to our children.”

The new laws also stipulate that vapes will only be sold in plain packaging and without flavouring to protect children. Individuals under 18 will require a prescription to buy vapes. Although these are federal laws, they will be enforced by state and territory police.

However, the laws have faced criticism from independent MPs, who claim they are a diluted version of the original legislation. The initial proposal required people to obtain a prescription to access vapes, but this was changed after negotiations in the Senate.

Independent MP Zali Steggall expressed her disappointment, saying,

“We now have a situation where pharmacies are going to be asked to sell over the counter a product that we know, from a health perspective, is dangerous, has a negative impact on people’s health.”

“I cannot see how this is a positive development for the government to have caved in for these amendments,” he added.

Minister Butler defended the legislation, emphasising that it balances therapeutic access to vapes while banning recreational sales from general retail stores. He highlighted the increasing evidence of vaping’s harms, particularly to young lungs and mental health.

“Almost every month, we are gathering new evidence about the harms that vaping is causing to young lungs, the harms, particularly that nicotine addiction is causing to the mental health of young Australians. Most insidiously, we know this is a gateway to cigarettes, and that was the intention of big tobacco.”

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The new reforms represent a significant step in Australia’s fight against nicotine addiction, aiming to protect future generations and mitigate the health risks associated with vaping.

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