Prime Minister of Tasmania – Position of the Government of Tasmania on the TGA decision on electronic cigarettes

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September 22, 2021

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister of Mental Health and Welfare

The Tasmanian government understands that smoking nicotine has a significant impact on the health of people, as well as the community in general and the state’s healthcare system.

Currently, the sale of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine is illegal in all Australian jurisdictions.

On December 21, 2020, the TGA announced a change in the import requirements for nicotine.

As a result, from October 1, 2021, the import of electronic nicotine cigarettes and liquid nicotine for vaping will require a medical prescription. The objective of this change is to prevent young people from indulging in nicotine e-cigarettes while allowing current smokers to access these products for smoking cessation on the advice of their doctor.

The Tasmanian government does not support e-cigarettes, based on advice from global health experts that the evidence is not established on the effectiveness of a personal vaporizer in helping to quit smoking compared to other products available based on evidence.

Nicotine e-cigarettes have also been linked to immediate damage, including respiratory illness and burns, and the health effects of long-term use remain unclear.

They are addictive and have the potential to reverse recent progress in reducing smoking rates in our state and “renormalizing” smoking within the community, which is an unacceptable risk.

Therefore, the government will not change our strict regulation of electronic cigarettes.

Under Tasmanian law, general practitioners who choose to prescribe nicotine e-cigarettes will be able to do so, and pharmacies that wish to distribute nicotine e-cigarette products will need to apply for a license (under the Public Health Act 1997).

Smokers in Tasmania who have been prescribed nicotine e-cigarettes will also be able to request telehealth appointments through the TGA website.

The TGA changes will have no impact on other retail businesses, as they will only directly affect general practitioners and pharmacies.

Caring for the health of Tasmanians today and in the future is our priority, and we will continue to take an evidence-based approach to reducing smoking rates in Tasmania.

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