From 1 October 2021, the Poisons Standard clarifies the regulation of nicotine as a Schedule 4 medicine. This includes nicotine for use in e-cigarettes, e-juice, heat-not-burn tobacco products and other novel nicotine products, even if no therapeutic claim is made.1 This scheduling change aligns with state and territory laws, which prohibit the sale or possession (other than in South Australia) of nicotine vaping products.
Consumers will require a prescription from an Australian-registered medical practitioner to access nicotine vaping products for e-cigarettes including access from overseas.2 This has implications for practice, and represents an opportunity for GPs to discuss smoking cessation strategies with current smokers and nicotine vape users.
To enhance safety, child-resistant closures for nicotine vaping products will also be mandatory.
Products not affected by the change
Nicotine replacement therapies currently available without prescription (from pharmacies and some retail outlets including sprays, patches, lozenges and gums) are not affected. These products have been assessed by the TGA as safe and effective for retail sale.2
There are no changes to the availability of e-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine, or tobacco prepared and packed for smoking.2