e-Cigarette Products

7 October 2020

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (16:47): I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

   (i) recent research by the Australian National University which confirms that non-smokers who vape are three times more likely, on average, to take up tobacco smoking, and

   (ii) that researchers observed that, for people trying to quit tobacco smoking, e-cigarettes tend to result in prolonged use of nicotine, rather than cessation;

(b) further notes that:

   (i) the Therapeutic Goods Administration has not approved e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids,

   (ii) nicotine e-liquid is not commercially available within Australia and is meant to be imported with a prescription for personal use, though there is currently little stopping people buying these liquids online and importing them without prescription, and

   (iii) the Government is consulting on proposed new rules that will, from next year, close this loophole by making a prescription a legal requirement for personal purchase of nicotine e-liquid, through domestic pharmacies or online sellers;

(c) acknowledges the concern of the Royal Australian College of Physicians that the proposed Senate select committee inquiry on 'tobacco harm reduction' is unnecessary, and that the safest option for the community is to not use tobacco or e-cigarettes; and

(d) calls on the Government to resist any attempts to weaken the laws surrounding vaping and nicotine e-liquids.

Senator DUNIAM (TasmaniaAssistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism) (16:47): 

A select committee was established yesterday with the support of this place to inquire into tobacco reduction strategies, including the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products. That committee will report back before year's end, and it's important that we don't preempt that work.

The TGA has recently announced an interim decision that, if made final, would clarify the regulation of e-cigarettes containing nicotine and nicotine fluids for vaping. The proposed changes would mean that certain nicotine-containing products could only be supplied with a doctor's prescription. TGA decisions are made independently based on expert medical advice, so we do not accept the premise of the motion that the government has the power to weaken laws surrounding vaping and nicotine e-liquids.

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