Australia has captured the vaping community’s news with its sudden plan to strictly enforce the ban on its importation of nicotine.
Before the suggested ban, Australian vapers were allowed to purchase at any nicotine containing ejuice at Australian vape shops. Although the stores were not allowed to sell or carry nicotine containing vape liquid, many vapers still acquired nicotine vape juice through online sales due to the lax enforcement on nicotine imports.
The ban proposed by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt would prevent all vapers from buying ejuice, with or without nicotine, and liquid nicotine for one entire year. To obtain eliquid, vapers would need to visit their doctor. Their doctor would then have to prescribe vape if they find that vaping helps their patient stop smoking and other forms of smoking cessation have failed.
Vapers will no longer be able to import liquid nicotine for their devices without a doctor's prescription, if a proposal by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt is successful. The ban would prevent all vapers from buying ejuice with nicotine and liquid nicotine for one entire year. Anyone caught importing nicotine in violation of the ban could be fined up to $220,000.
The reason behind the ban is that vaping is still new and could potentially could addict youth that would otherwise never smoke. During those 12 months, Therapeutic Goods Administration will conduct a public consultation on the regulation of nicotine products.
Not only does this add many steps and delays when shopping for vape, there is also the issue of finding a doctor who is knowledgeable and willing to support vaping. If a vaper loses their vape or spills it, it is a long wait until more is available. Additionally, figuring out the strength and how often a vape prescription should be renewed is hard. There is no strict rule for how much people can vape - not only does it depend on their former smoking habits, it also depends on their setup and their habits.
At least two Australian senators, Matthew Canavan and George Christensen, have come out against the ban. Christensen complained that the ban was “done without any consultation with the public or many government MPs including myself. ” His reasons for opposing the ban include the possibility of driving people back to smoking, the possible rise of black market products, and that vaping could still “play a major role in moving people from tobacco to a safer product.”
Australians were caught off guard by the proposal of the vape ban, and began to stockpile vapes as people normally do when a ban is looming. Unfortunately, the government has stated it will seize any package after the nicotine bans - even packages ordered before the ban was announced.
Given many shipping delays around the world due to COVID -19 and the suddenness of the ban, it is quite possible that many Australian vapers will be short on nicotine these upcoming weeks. Perhaps, in the worst cast scenario, they could go back to smoking.
Update: The ban has been postponed to January 1, 2021.
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