If you’re a recentconvert from smoking to vaping, you’ve pickedan interesting time to make the switch. That’s becausethe Australian governmentmight be very close totaking away the very thing that may have madequitting smoking possible for you: e-liquid with nicotine.
If this is the first time that you’re hearing about Australia’s potentialban on e-liquid imports, here’s the good news:You still have time to act.
So, what’s happening, and what’s going to change about how Australian vapers buy their e-liquid? First, let’s take a look at how Australian law currentlyhandles e-liquid.
How Does Australia Currently Regulate E-Liquid Sales?
Since liquid nicotine is a controlled substance in Australia, our laws actually make it fairly difficultto buy e-liquid with nicotine already. If you want to buynicotine-free e-liquid, you’re free to get it from any vape shop. If you want to buy e-liquid with nicotine, though,you’rerequired to get a prescription from a doctor.The prescriptiongrants you a therapeutic use exemptionand allows you to buy e-liquid with nicotine.
Stemming back toAustralia’s controlled substance laws,though, youstillcan’tbuye-liquid with nicotine from standard retailers even after obtaining a prescription. For buying that e-liquid, you havetwo options.
1. You canbring your prescription to a compounding pharmacy and have them fill it.Compounding pharmacies aren’t common in Australia, and many of those that do exist do not have the necessary ingredients for making e-liquid. Rarer still are compounding pharmacies that will actually flavour the e-liquid for you.
2. You can import your e-liquid from abroad. If you have a prescription, theAustralianTherapeutic Goods Administration Personal Importation Schemeallows you to import a limited quantity of e-liquid for personal use.If you use this method for obtaining e-liquid, there are limits to the amount of e-liquid that you can importat any one time or in a calendar year. The limits, however, are reasonable and are in place to prevent people from buying e-liquid for illegal resale.If you use this method for buying e-liquid, you may purchase the brands and flavours you like from any retailer that ships to Australia.
If you’re thinking that these are a lot of hoops to jump through to get e-liquid, you’re correct.For a nation in which vaping is legal, Australia doesn’t make it easy to buy vape juice. In the verynear future, however, it appears thate-liquid with nicotine is going to become significantly more difficult to obtain.
How Will Australia’s Vaping Laws Change in 2021?
Australian Minister of Health Greg Hunt has proposeda new regulation that would ban allprivate imports of e-liquid with nicotine, and the ban is set to commence on 1st January 2021.If the proposed regulation is enacted, you will no longer be allowed to import e-liquid with nicotine from the retailer of your choice beginning on that date.The penalty for ignoring the ban and getting caught would bean incredibly high fine of$220,000.
So, if you can’t buy e-liquid with nicotine privately, how will you be able to get it? The answer is that youwill be required to buy e-liquid from a pharmacy possessing an import licence.MP Hunt’s proposed regulation will require all vapers – if they want to use nicotine – to obtain their e-liquid solely through the health system.It’salso very unlikely that pharmacies will offer a significant number of choices as far as e-liquid brands and flavours are concerned.
Is Anything Being Done to Prevent the E-Liquid Import Ban?
The e-liquid import ban hasseveral opponents in Parliament. Many Australian vapers arealsostepping up and voicing their displeasure with the ban, andadvocacy groups like theAustralian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association andLegalise Vaping Australia are working to amplify the voices of the Australian vaping community.
Opponents of the import ban have correctly pointed out that it is already more difficult to buy e-liquid in Australia that it is to buy cigarettes – an ironic situation given the risk profile of vaping vs. smoking.In addition to forcing vapers to obtain their e-liquid through the health system, the import ban willseverely restrict product choices. If e-liquid with nicotine is only available from pharmacies, it’s highly likely that vape juice will cost far more in 2021 than it does now.Currently, competition between retailers ensures that Australians never have to pay too much for e-liquid, even when shipping costs are taken into account. The import ban will surely change that.
The e-liquid import ban will take awayvapers’ privacy while restricting their product choices and increasing their prices.It is logical to conclude, then, that the ban will create a black market for e-liquid, thuscreating a new law enforcement burden that shouldn’t exist. The ban will also drive many vapers back to smoking.
Many citizens and lawmakers understand that the e-liquid import ban would represent a giant step backwards for public health and tobacco harm reduction in Australia.You should not assume, however, that common sense will ultimately prevail.Right now, there is every indication that the ban will proceed as planned.
What Can I Do to Stop the E-Liquid Import BanFrom Happening?
The e-liquid import ban is set to take effect in about three months. You have just one opportunityto stand up and tell yourelectedrepresentativesthat their response to this proposed regulation will affect how you vote.We have a list of MPs and their contact phone numberson this page.You can also send an email through an interactive form at theLegalise Vaping website.
When contacting your representatives, we recommendkeeping your comments polite and on point. Briefly describe the positive effect that vaping has had on your lifeand explain why you feel that it would be counterproductive for the Australian government to make e-liquid more difficult to obtain than it already is. Conclude your comments bystating that you are a single-issue voter and will vote only for representatives who work to protect your right to remain smoke free.