Tasmanian Government position on e-cigarette TGA decision

Jeremy Rockliff,Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Tasmanian Government understands nicotine smoking has a significant impact on people’s health, as well as the community more broadly and the State’s health system.

Currently the sale of nicotine containing e-cigarettes is illegal in all Australian jurisdictions.

On 21 December, 2020, the TGA announced a change to requirements for the importation of nicotine.

As a consequence, from 1 October, 2021, the importation of nicotine e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine for vaping will require a doctor’s prescription. The aim of this change is to prevent young people from taking up nicotine e-cigarettes while allowing current smokers to access these products for smoking cessation on their doctor’s advice.

The Tasmanian Government does not support e-cigarettes, based on advice from global health experts that the evidence is not settled on the effectiveness of a personal vaporiser product to aid smoking cessation compared to other available evidence-based products.

Nicotine e-cigarettes have also been associated with immediate harms, including respiratory illness and burns, and the health effects of long-term use remain unclear.

They are addictive and have the potential to reverse recent gains made to reduce the smoking rate in our State and ‘re-normalise’ smoking within the community, which is an unacceptable risk.

The Government will consequently not be changing our strict regulation of e-cigarettes.

Under Tasmanian law, GPs who choose to prescribe nicotine e-cigarettes will be able to do so, and pharmacies who want to dispense nicotine e-cigarette products will have to apply for a licence (under the Public Health Act 1997).

Tasmanian smokers prescribed nicotine e-cigarettes will also be able to seek telehealth appointments via the TGA website.

The TGA changes will have no impact on any other retail businesses, as it will only directly affect GPs and pharmacies.

Looking after the health of Tasmanians now and into the future is our priority, and we will continue to take an evidence-based approach to reduce Tasmanian smoking rates.

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