Vape control smoked

Vape control smoked
Vape control smoked

Legislation passed in the Senate on Wednesday will see expanded access to nicotine-containing vapes, putting a new generation of young people in harm’s way.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild) strongly opposed the amendments, which make vapes available for purchase over the counter in community pharmacies. The amendments were also opposed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, TerryWhite Chemmart, Priceline, National Pharmacies, Blooms and Pharmacy 777 pharmacy groups alongside thousands of independent pharmacies.

Amendments proposed by the Greens in a deal struck with the Government will see nicotine-containing vapes move from Prescription only (Schedule 4) to Pharmacist only (Schedule 3) as early as October this year.

National Vice President of the Guild Anthony Tassone said the amendments compromise community health and do not take into consideration the safety or efficacy of vapes as a smoking cessation device.

“Pharmacists are healthcare professionals and community pharmacies do not want to supply this potentially harmful, highly addictive product without a prescription.

“Thanks to this secret, Greens-led deal, community pharmacies across Australia are being asked to supply nicotine-containing vapes without a prescription,” Mr Tassone said.

Vaping products have not been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and no nicotine-containing vape is listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

“Pharmacists can only supply a schedule 3 medicine if there is an established therapeutic need. When we don’t know the long-term effects of vapes on patient safety, how can a pharmacist make an informed decision?

“We are deeply disappointed that public policy has been developed in a vacuum without consultation prior to these amendments being passed,” Mr Tassone said.

Significant questions remain about the impact the amendments will have on pharmacy insurance premiums, business risks and regulatory compliance. It is also unclear how this change will address concerns around availability of black-market vapes and organised crime.

No guidance or protocol exists for pharmacies to stock unregulated substances with no established therapeutic benefit.

Changes to the Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024 will come into effect as early as October this year.

June 27, 2024