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Vapers told to head to the doctor ahead of new import rules

The medicines regulator is urging e-cigarette users to make an appointment with a doctor before new laws kick in banning the import of nicotine vaping products without a prescription.

The laws will mean vapers must organise for a copy of their prescription to be included in any packages being sent to them. Border Force will be allowed to stop imports and destroy products if they do not see a valid script, according to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

The TGA says nicotine e-cigarettes will be legal through prescriptions from October 1.

The TGA says nicotine e-cigarettes will be legal through prescriptions from October 1.Credit:Eddie Jim

Australians also need a prescription to buy nicotine vaping products and liquids from Australian pharmacies.

“Purchase of nicotine vaping products from other Australian sources is already not permitted and will remain illegal,” the TGA said in guidance documents released on Thursday.

“These changes balance the need to prevent adolescents and young adults from taking up nicotine vaping (and potentially smoking), while enabling current smokers to readily access these products for smoking cessation with appropriate medical advice.”

The overhaul of regulations also includes a new set of requirements on businesses, with companies that import nicotine vaping goods required to follow strict safety guidelines.

Fines of up to $11 million are on the cards if a business imports products that include banned flavour ingredients, which have been shown to have negative health impacts.

These include cinnamaldehyde, which is used to create a cinnamon flavour, and acetonin, which is used to create a creamy flavour but has been associated with serious lung damage.

Patients who wish to use nicotine e-cigarette products need to contact their doctor, who can provide a three-month prescription to buy products overseas through the personal importation scheme.

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