The Australian Medical Association (AMA), the peak body for Australia’s doctors, has said it supports “strong, strictly enforced regulation” of nicotine vaping products. This includes the removal of flavoured vapes and the introduction of plain packaging.
The measures are aimed at preventing the uptake of vapes in young people and protecting users from the dangers of nicotine use.
Since October 2021, nicotine vape products have only been legal in Australia if you have a prescription. However, they remain widely accessible.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the national medicine regulator, released a set of proposed reforms for nicotine vape products last November.
The TGA recommended stronger measures on vape imports, product assessments, and quality and safety standards.
The AMA supported the TGA’s call to prohibit or limit flavouring in vape products, and to significantly reduce nicotine concentration in vapes.
They also backed plain-packaging reforms and putting warning labels on vaping products, including those without nicotine.
The AMA also said vapes should only be used as a “last resort” to quit smoking, saying there is limited evidence to suggest they’re effective.
Reforms for the appearance and taste of vape products are targeted at mitigating uptake in young Australians.
A survey of 14-17-year-olds in NSW last year found that “flavourings and taste” were the most important characteristic of a vape.
It also found that regular vapers were 18 times more likely to become regular smokers than those who never vaped.
After releasing its recommendations, the TGA sought feedback from the public on its suggested reforms (which has now closed).
It’s not known how long the review of these submissions will take.