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RETAILERS IN THE DARK ON OVER-THE-TOP NEW RULES FOR VAPING PRODUCT SALES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 30/09/21


• Over-the-top new laws that make it illegal to buy nicotine vaping products in Australia without a GP prescription come into force on October 1
• Convenience store owners across the country are concerned about facing wide-spread confusion from the change
• Industry body AACS calls for sensible, well-regulated sales of nicotine products in line with New Zealand and the United Kingdom

The new Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulations on the sale of nicotine vaping and e-cigarette products begin on Friday October 1, with thousands of Australian retailers and hundreds-of-thousands of Australians likely unaware of what these changes mean.

The new laws being rolled out by the Federal Government mean it will be illegal to purchase vaping or e-cigarette products in Australia without a valid prescription from a doctor.

Australians who already use nicotine vaping or e-cigarette products will now be forced to sit in a waiting room, consult with a GP and visit their pharmacist just to get their hands on a nicotine vaping product.

With a prescription, people can also import nicotine from overseas using their prescription, but this will continue to send tens of millions of dollars in purchases offshore when Australia is trying to recover from the economic hammer-blow inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The changes mean many Australians may opt to buy a pack of cigarettes rather than visit a GP to get a nicotine vaping prescription.

Retailers within the convenience and service station industry have been kept in the dark by regulators and the Federal Government about what the new regime will mean for their businesses, with many concerned the new model will result in confusion.

Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) CEO Theo Foukkare has called for more clarity around how the new model will impact retailers and their operations. He asks why Australia can’t have a more practical model for selling nicotine vaping products.

“From 1st October, hundreds of thousands of Australians already using nicotine e-cigarettes as a less harmful alternative to smoking will find it easier to purchase traditional cigarettes than visit a GP and pharmacist to get their prescription,” Mr Foukkare said.

“And if they don’t get it from a pharmacist, they can get it from offshore providers right when we need every dollar possible in the Australian economy to rebuild from the pandemic.

“Thousands of retailers across Australia are still unaware of how the TGA’s new regulation will impact their operations. The Federal Government and Minister for Health must clarify this.

“Many Australians will find it baffling that nicotine vaping products are available to purchase in a wide variety of stores across New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom – but not here.”

Mr Foukkare said it remained the AACS’ view that nicotine e-cigarette and vaping products should be available at existing licensed tobacco retailers.

“What the Federal Government is doing is locking smokers out of a far less harmful product, denying Australians who smoke the opportunity to reduce cigarette consumption or quit smoking altogether.

“We stand ready as responsible tobacco retailers who are trusted by our consumers to give smokers seeking a less harmful alternative and supply that to them.

“The situation is ridiculous. Right at the time Australia’s health system is trying to deal with a global pandemic, the Government is pushing huge numbers of Australians to visit GP clinics just
to get a prescription.”

“There is surely a better way to do this.”
ENDS

Theo Foukkare is available for interview: 0423 003 133

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