Vaping reform legislation

Update 26/06/24

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) acknowledges the passing of reforms today that aim to shut down the retail model of vape supply in Australia.

The legislation which has now passed the Senate defines the minimum legal requirements for prescribing as a Pharmacist Only Medicine (Schedule 3). In addition, pharmacists will be expected to adhere to PSA’s Guidelines for pharmacists providing smoking cessation support, which will be updated prior to 1 October 2024.

While the amendments to the legislation are not PSA’s preferred approach, we also recognise the need for strong action to address the vaping public health crisis, and this starts with ending retail supply of vapes.

PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim said,

“PSA has consistently called for strong action to address the public health crisis that vaping has become.

“While this is not our preferred model, PSA remains firm in the belief that something needed to be done to prevent another generation of Australians to becoming addicted to nicotine and experiencing the health consequences of vaping.

“Once legislation has passed both houses, our focus will be firmly on supporting pharmacists through these changes.

“PSA will work with government to support the pharmacists who choose to be involved in the prescribing and dispensing of nicotine-containing therapeutic vapes. PSA will develop best-practice guidelines to describe how pharmacists prescribe products for smoking cessation products, including nicotine-containing therapeutic vapes.

“People will not be able to simply buy vapes on request – they must take part in a therapeutic consultation with a pharmacist who will prescribe a therapy based on clinical need.  It will be very different to how Australians are currently buying vapes.

“The coming months will be critical in ensuring pharmacists and the community have a clear understanding of how this model will work as a health-based approach to nicotine dependence management.”

PSA position on proposed vaping reforms 25/06/24
Based on current information, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is not supportive of proposed amendments to the Therapeutic Goods and other Legislation (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024 which are before Parliament this week.

​If the proposed amendment to downschedule nicotine vaping products becomes part of the final legislation, there would not be an adequate transition of nicotine-vaping being a retail product to it becoming a health-care professional prescribed tool to support smoking cessation.

PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim said,​

“Vaping is a public health crisis; It has unique harms which are different from tobacco smoking, and we share the government’s concerns that another generation is becoming dependent on nicotine.

“Doing nothing is not an option – and therefore, we continue to support the government’s intent as outlined in the original vaping reform legislation.

​“Further, PSA continues to strongly support the government’s intent to limit the supply of vaping and removing vapes from retail settings.

​“However, the amendment proposed undermines the role of pharmacists as health care professionals.

​“The amendment – if it was to pass the Senate in its current form – asks pharmacists to prescribe unapproved, unregulated, untested vaping products to the public.

​“This would not represent a health model. Pharmacist Only Medicines are pharmacist-prescribed medicines, which include a consultation with patients to establish therapeutic need. Not having patient information recorded in the prescribing of nicotine-containing vapes is inconsistent with the normal provision of health care.

​“We cannot and do not support positioning pharmacists as retailers rather than health professionals.

​“Pharmacists can and should be involved in harm minimisation and nicotine dependence management, but in the absence of a TGA-approved product, effective clinical governance framework and evidence-based clinical guidelines supporting their use, we cannot embed a therapeutic model of prescribing vapes.

​“PSA’s role is to support pharmacists to practise and perform their clinical tasks professionally and ethically. PSA will, in good faith, continue to have constructive discussions with stakeholders on this important public health issue.

“PSA maintains support for the original intent of the Bill, to limit the supply of therapeutic vapes through prescription only and taking them out of the hands of children.”

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