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Get Organised – 1 October 2021 Australian Regulation Changes

Get Organised – 1 October 2021 Australian Regulation Changes

If you are one of our Australian customers, you need to be aware of the upcoming 1 October 2021 Australian regulation changes. Get organised today.

Australians need a doctor’s prescription to import nicotine vape products

If you live in Australia, you need a doctor’s prescription to access vape products (including e-liquid and pods) containing nicotine.

You can import a personal supply of nicotine vaping products purchased from international suppliers (like Premium Vape) through the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA’s) Personal Importation Scheme, providing you have a valid prescription from an Australian doctor at the time of import.

From 1 October 2021, all nicotine vaping products (including nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and nicotine e-liquid) will be classed as prescription only medicine. It is important that you are aware of, and meet the requirements for legally importing vape products into Australia following this change.

How to get a nicotine prescription

A medical prescription for nicotine products will explain that you require the e-liquid for therapeutic use. i.e. you are a smoker or ex-smoker who has been unable to quit by other means. The prescription is usually valid for 12 months.

Be aware that the prescribers can consider what nicotine concentration and type of product is appropriate for your smoking cessation needs. You must ensure you order products that match what is specified in your prescription.

You can only import a maximum of three month’s supply in one order (and the total quantity of products imported within a 12-month period must not exceed 15 months supply). Your prescription may specify an appropriate dosage for your smoking cessation program so you need to match this to the quantity of product you order.

If you don’t already have a prescription your first step should be to approach your Australian doctor.

If you have difficulty obtaining a prescription for e-liquid with nicotine, the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association has a list of doctors who can help.

In some cases, you can even do the consultation online rather than going to an appointment in person, which can make the process easier and faster. QuitClinics for example offer a 100% online prescription service. The process is easy, just complete an online medical questionnaire about your smoking history and vaping habits. An Australian doctor will then review your case within 24 hours and as long as vaping is right for you, issue a 12-month prescription (vaping could be right for you if you are over 18 years old, are a current or ex-smoker and other nicotine replacement therapies haven’t worked for you).

What to do with your prescription

 The Australian Border Force is in charge of monitoring prescription only medicines being imported from overseas. They have indicated that they will be actively enforcing the requirement for a medical prescription at border control.

Accordingly, from the end of September 2021, you will be asked to confirm you have a doctor’s prescription when placing an order with Premium Vape. At checkout, if your account has an Australian shipping address, you will have to tick a box confirming you have a doctor’s prescription before the order can be submitted.

The TGA has recommended Australian customers include a copy of their prescription when placing an order with international suppliers (like Premium Vape) so the supplier can upload a copy of the prescription with their logistics provider and/or include a copy in the package when the products are shipped. Having a valid prescription with the package at the time of import will assist in the assessment and clearance of goods by the Australian Border Force.

Therefore you will also need to upload a copy of your prescription in digital form (use pdf, jpg, or png file format). If you do this we will include a copy of the prescription with your package.

Note: please be aware that people that need to come in contact with your order as it is processed (including but not limited to our customer service team, distribution centre, couriers, Australian Border Force etc) may be able to view the information contained on your prescription.

Australian Border Force officials can stop your import at the Australian border if they suspect that it is an unlawful import. If there is no prescription enclosed in the package, the Australian Border Force will refer the import to the TGA for assessment. The TGA will then contact you to ask for a copy of your prescription. If you do not provide a copy of your prescription, the TGA can request that the Australian Border Force seize and forfeit (destroy) the goods. You may also face penalties for importing a prescription medicine without legal authority.

As the importer you are responsible for meeting the Australian regulations

It is important that you understand that you as the importer are solely responsible for ensuring you are meeting all country (and state) regulations when placing orders with Premium Vape (or any overseas vape supplier). This includes having a valid medical prescription at the time of import.

Australian Border Force officials can stop your import at the Australian border if they suspect that it is an unlawful import. If there is no prescription enclosed in the package, the Australian Border Force will refer the import to the TGA for assessment. The TGA will then contact you to ask for a copy of your prescription. If you do not provide a copy of your prescription, the TGA can request that the Australian Border Force seize and forfeit (destroy) the goods. You may also face penalties for importing a prescription medicine without legal authority.

If your order is delayed, seized or forfeited by the Australian Border Force it is not the responsibility of Premium Vape and you will be required to provide any necessary documents to the authorities (we will not be able to assist with this). You are not eligible for a refund if your order is delayed, seized or forfeited (destroyed). Furthermore Premium Vape is in no way responsible for any penalties, fines, loss of product or additional fees you may incur.

We also recommend you are fully aware of and meet any state level regulations for where you live. Details on state regulations are outside the scope of this information.

Delivery times

At this stage we are not sure what the changes may mean for delivery times but we are expecting it to take longer for parcels to get to our Australian customers than it does at the moment, especially initially. There may also be further changes to the process for Australian customers as more information is made available from the regulatory bodies.

An overview of the new Australian nicotine vaping regulations

If you’d like to know more, here is an overview of the new Australian nicotine vaping regulations.

Australian vaping regulations are made by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) which is part of the Australian Government Department of Health.

From 1 October 2021, all nicotine vaping products (including nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and e-liquid) will be prescription only medicine. It is important that you are aware of, and meet the requirements for importing vape products into Australia following this change.

In a nutshell the changes on 1 October 2021:

  1. Mean that all nicotine vaping products are classed as prescription only medicine
  2. Align the laws for importing nicotine vape supplies through the TGA’s Personal Importation Scheme with the current domestic rules
  3. Allow vapers to purchase nicotine vaping products from Australian pharmacies.

Here is a diagram that shows the two ways you will be able to access nicotine vaping supplies. It is from the TGA’s website.

Personal Importation Scheme

If you have already purchased nicotine vaping products from overseas you would have done so under the TGA’s Personal Importation Scheme. The good news is the TGA will continue to allow personal importation via this scheme so you will still be able to access the brands that work for you.

The Personal Importation Scheme means you can purchase a personal supply of nicotine vaping products from international suppliers (like Premium Vape), providing you have a valid prescription from an Australian doctor at the time of import.

The Australian Border Force has the job of managing the prescription requirement and they have indicated that they will be actively enforcing the requirement at border control from 1 October 2021. See above for more information about this.

There are a number of other restrictions Australian customers need to be aware of when importing nicotine vaping products through the scheme.

Regulations for importing nicotine vaping supplies under the Personal Importation Scheme:

  • The products must be for your own personal use or a member of your immediate family
  • You must have a valid medical prescription for nicotine from an Australian registered GP
  • You can import up to a maximum of three month’s supply in one order (and the total quantity of products imported within a 12-month period must not exceed 15 months supply)
  • You must only purchase nicotine vaping products that match the criteria of your prescription (such as the nicotine strength or type of product you can purchase)
  • You must not supply, sell or even give away the nicotine vaping products to another person
  • Ideally keep the products in their original packaging with the labels intact
  • There are some additional regulations governing ingredients for products imported via the Personal Importation Scheme

Australian pharmacies

From 1 October 2021 Australian consumers with a valid medical prescription for nicotine vaping products will be able to purchase supplies (such as pods and liquids) from some local Australian pharmacies and Australian based online pharmacies (the pharmacy needs to choose to dispense nicotine vape products). There are a number of regulations governing ingredients and labelling for products purchased through pharmacies.

It will still be illegal for other retailers, including vape stores in Australia, to sell nicotine e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine.

What to know more?

There is plenty of information available on the TGA’s website, including a brief video outlining the 1 October 2021 changes. Here are some useful links:

We’ll also include regular updates in our newsletters and on the Premium Vape websites as we have them. Also check out our Australian Prescriptions page with more details.

Please note the information provided here is for informational purposes only.  We cannot and will not offer medical or legal advice. Always talk to your doctor or a health professional. Premium Vape does not endorse or recommend any third party organisations and will not be held responsible for any loss, claim or damage arising out of the use, or misuse, of the suggestions made, the failure to take medical advice or for any material on third party websites.