Greens secure amendments to vaping legislation and will support passage through Senate

Australian Greens

The Greens have negotiated amendments to the Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024 and will support the legislation’s passage through the Senate.

As a result of Greens negotiations, we have secured significant changes to the government’s prescription only legislation that risked criminalising people for possessing vapes for personal use. The changes include:

  1. Vapes will be available from a chemist as a Schedule 3 pharmacist-only medication for adults over 18 years old, rather than requiring a prescription from a GP. These will be plain packaged and properly regulated vapes. Data of vape purchasers will not be recorded.
  2. GPs can continue to prescribe therapeutic vapes, and a prescription will be the only pathway for vapes for people under 18 if they are deemed clinically appropriate.
  3. Possession of personal use quantities of any form of vape will not be subject to criminal charges. There will be an 8-month personal possession amnesty period. Commercial quantities sold by retailers other than pharmacies will be unlawful.
  4. As this is world-leading legislation, there will be a review of this legislation after three years.
  5. There will be an expanded disposal framework via pharmacies.
  6. There will be stronger regulations around advertising to healthcare professionals.
  7. Additional funding will be announced to support young people quitting vaping.

As stated by Senator Jordon Steele-John, Greens spokesperson for health

“The Australian Greens are deeply concerned about increasing rates of vaping amongst children and see increasing nicotine dependence rates as a significant public health problem.

“The status quo in Australia is far from ideal. It’s unacceptable that children have access to flavoured vapes, and vaping products that have been entering Australia are unsafe, falsely labelled and have dangerous unknown ingredients.

“We’ve heard from parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals about their deep concerns about the impact of vapes. It’s time for change.

“The Greens do not support prohibition, that is why we have successfully secured changes to this legislation to ensure that vapes remain out of the hands of kids, but adults can access them via a pharmacy, and there’s no chance of individuals being criminalised for possessing a personal vape.

“The Greens will support the amended legislation.

“The Greens have secured a carefully regulated scheme that focuses on public health outcomes, reducing harm and minimising use, particularly amongst children.

“We must ensure that no one is incentivised to return to cigarette smoking and that people can get support when they need it. That’s why the Greens have focused on making sure adults can get access to therapeutic vapes when they need them. We’ve moved the government from a cost-prohibitive prescription model to a model where adults can pick up a vaping product from their local pharmacy without a prescription.

“No one should be penalised for personal use of vapes. The prohibition of drugs has failed. The Greens are pleased that we have secured amendments to this legislation that will ensure that no person will be criminalised for personal possession of a vaping product.

“We need to ensure that disposable vapes are no longer littering our streets and waterways, and we need to reduce lithium battery fires. That’s why the Greens have pushed this government to commit to action on a vaping products amnesty and ensure there are convenient and safe disposal locations.

“The implementation of this legislation with amendments will be a world-first, and because of this, we’ve secured a legislated review of this legislation. A review in 3 years will allow us to see if the harm-reduction settings are right. Across this time, we urge the government to focus on improved data collection, support and education for our community and above all ensure that we have the harm-reduction settings right.

“The Greens have been willing to work with the government to amend the legislation to ensure that no person will be criminalised for the personal possession of vapes, that people can access therapeutic vapes as needed, and we’ve secured a review of the legislation so we can ensure that it’s meeting its harm-reduction goals.”

/Public Release. View in full here.