The first stage of Australia’s new vaping reforms will commence on 1 January 2024, with the implementation of a ban on the importation of disposable single use vapes, subject to legislative and administrative arrangements being approved by the Governor General in the next week or so.

The new Regulations make provision for the establishment of a new Special Access Scheme. This Scheme will facilitate improved access to therapeutic vapes via prescription from all medical practitioners (and nurse practitioners) from 1 January 2024.

The laws will be further tightened on 1 March 2024. These laws will effectively result in a national ban on the importation and sale and use of refillable vapes and include:

  • the cessation of the personal importation of vapes,
  • a ban on the importation of non-therapeutic vapes,
  • a requirement for therapeutic vape importers and manufacturers to notify the Therapeutic Goods Administration of their product’s compliance with the relevant product standards, and
  • a requirement for importers to obtain a licence and permit from the Australian Government’s Office of Drug Control before the products are imported.

During 2024, product standards for therapeutic vapes will also be strengthened, including to limit flavours, reduce permissible nicotine concentrations and require pharmaceutical packaging (a transition period will be allowed for businesses to comply with the new requirements).

The Government will also introduce legislation in 2024 to prevent domestic manufacture, advertisement, supply and commercial possession of non-therapeutic and disposable single use vapes to ensure comprehensive controls on vapes across all levels of the supply chain.

The vaping reforms were the focus of a joint meeting of all Australian Health and Police Ministers last week. At this meeting, Ministers agreed to task officials with developing a national enforcement framework for vaping products – to stamp out unlawful vapes in the community and prevent illegal markets from emerging. Minister also agreed that a multi-agency National Vaping Working Group will be established to oversee development and implementation of the national enforcement framework.

“This focus on the development and implementation of a national enforcement framework is essential to the effective operation of these new laws”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

“Any failure in enforcement will result in vapes continuing to be accessible by children, despite the best efforts of industry advocates like ACAPMA, as unscrupulous retailers seek to take advantage of what has become a very lucrative trade in illegal nicotine vapes and other illicit tobacco products,” said Mark.

“ACAPMA will work cooperatively with all Australian Governments to promote industry awareness of the new laws and to assist with the design of an enforcement regime that protects the health of children and eliminates the competitive distortion that has been created by the sale of illicit tobacco in our industry,” concluded Mark.