Australia bans sale of vapes outside pharmacies

The Australian government has restricted the sale of vapes so they can only be legally bought from pharmacies in a move to cut the nation’s nicotine use.

Implemented on Monday 1 July 2024, this new law has banned the sale, supply, manufacture, importation and commercial possession of non-therapeutic and disposable vapes. This means adults can only legally buy vapes with a prescription at a pharmacy.

In addition, vape flavours are now limited to menthol, mint or tobacco under the new legislation. The packaging must also be plain, and the nicotine concentrations of vape products will be ‘tightly controlled’.

However, these rules will loosen from 1 October 2024, and adults will be able to purchase vapes from a pharmacy without a prescription. Meanwhile, those under 18 will still need a prescription to make sure they get ‘appropriate medical advice and supervision’, the government said.

In addition, the nicotine concentration will be limited to 20mg/ml for those sold without a prescription, meaning adults requiring a higher concentration will require a prescription.

The government also warned that stores caught selling vapes will be fined two million Australian dollars – and owners could be jailed for up to seven years.

‘Public health menace’

These reforms to e-cigarette regulation is part of the Australian government’s National Tobacco Strategy 2023–2030. This aims to prevent nicotine addiction, denormalise vaping and protect young people.

The government believes these new laws will ‘protect young Australians and the broader community from the harms of recreational vaping’.

Mark Butler is Australian minister for health and aged care. He said: ‘The best time to have done this was five years ago. The second-best time is right now.

‘Recreational vaping is a scourge. It is a public health menace, particularly for children and for young people,’ he said.

‘A product that was presented as a therapeutic good that would help hardened smokers kick the habit finally, has actually been deployed by Big Tobacco as a tool to recruit a new generation to nicotine addiction.’

This comes as the UK government dropped its proposed smoking and vapes ban in the run-up to the general election.

This bill would have made it an offence to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009. It would have also introduced new powers to regulate the flavours, contents and packaging of vaping products.

The government has promised to reintroduce the bill if it won the upcoming general election.

Follow on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.

Get the most out of your membership by subscribing to Dentistry CPD
  • Access 600+ hours of verified CPD courses
  • Includes all GDC recommended topics
  • Powerful CPD tracking tools included
Register for webinar
Add to calendar