RACGP says Australia’s vaping reforms are world-leading

Royal Australian College of GPs

Australia’s peak GP body says legislation currently before Parliament cracking down on the market for vapes in Australia will be world-leading if it passes the Senate.

The Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024 is expected to pass Parliament this week with amendments that will allow people aged over 18 to purchase plain packaged nicotine vapes from pharmacies as a Schedule 3 medication. Those under 18 will need a prescription from a GP.

Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) President Dr Nicole Higgins said GPs back tighter regulations on the market.

“We support the crackdown on vaping. This is about saving our children’s lungs and future health, and stopping younger generations getting hooked on nicotine,” she said.

“These reforms are an important step to stop younger people easily accessing vapes from retailers and getting hooked, as well as cracking down on advertising and attractive packaging and flavours.

“Importantly, under the proposed changes, people will need to have a conversation with their pharmacist about their options for smoking cessation whenever they purchase a vape.

“While we don’t know the long-term health impacts of vaping yet, the emerging evidence is scary. We know vapes contain chemicals that cause serious respiratory issues and lung damage. And they have been marketed to children, who have a lot of trouble quitting due to the severe withdrawal symptoms many people experience, such as anxiety, trouble eating and sleeping.”

Dr Higgins encouraged people of all ages to see their GP for help to quit nicotine.  

“GPs are very experienced in helping people quit nicotine, including young people, and I encourage anyone who does need support to talk to their doctor,” she said.

“The RACGP will continue to advocate for those who do want to quit to have access to medical care from their GP and methods to quit that we know work.

“People need to know vapes have harmful health impacts, and they’re only recommended as a second line smoking cessation aid, after other options have failed, such as nicotine patches.

“The new regulations will need close monitoring to ensure compliance at the point of purchase, because we don’t want these harmful products making their way into the hands of young people. People should not think of pharmacies as the new corner store.”


/Public Release.