March 24-30, 2024: Issue 619


Vaping Reforms Bill 2024 introduced to Parliament

signboard outside an e-cigarette store at Mona Vale faces towards the main bus-stop where students gather to catch the bus to school

On Thursday March 21 the Albanese Government introduced to Parliament world leading vaping legislation to deliver on our promise to protect children, young people and all Australians from the harms of vaping. 

The Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024 bans the importation, manufacture, supply, and commercial possession of disposable single use and non-therapeutic vapes, while preserving legitimate patient access to therapeutic vapes through pharmacy settings for smoking cessation and the management of nicotine dependence, where clinically appropriate.   

Vaping is a public health menace, and the rapid rise in vaping among young people is alarming.

The AMA stated it welcomes the introduction of draft laws into Parliament that will tackle the dangerous and growing habit of vaping and protect younger generations.

AMA President Professor Steve Robson urged all MPs to support the legislation, which includes a ban on the domestic manufacture, supply, advertising and commercial possession of non-therapeutic vapes.

“The significant rise of vapes in recent years is a catastrophic health concern, with children becoming addicted to nicotine and many young Australians moving on to cigarettes after vaping,” Professor Robson said.

“This is a national health crisis that must be stopped in its tracks, and the only way to do that is to stop the retail sale of vapes and give people the help they need to kick this dangerous habit by moving to a prescription only model.

“The federal government should make absolutely no apology with their tough but necessary legislation to be introduced today, and we call on federal parliament to support these changes.”

The AMA has long advocated for restrictions on vaping, especially as more evidence emerges about the serious health risks linked to vapes.

Substances commonly found in these products include diacetyl, which damages small passageways in the lungs, formaldehyde, which is known to contribute to lung and heart diseases, and acrolein, which is often used as a weed killer.

There is also strong evidence to show young people who vape are three times more likely to go on to take up smoking.

“Big tobacco profits from the misery of others and uses every trick in the book to hook young kids on vapes," Professor Robson said.

"Fruity flavours, bright packaging, false claims that vapes are nicotine free and vaping shopfronts within walking distances of schools are all within big tobacco’s arsenal of tricks.

The eastern end of Avalon Parade, a popular young adult 'hang-out' place, has become the site of an e-cigarette store

“This is marketing sleight of hand at its absolute worst, and these shady tobacco companies won’t stop unless stringent legislation is put in place to prevent vaping from escalating into the next cigarette and smoking crisis.”

The latest national data from 2022/23 showed 1 in 6 high school students recently vaped – a four-fold increase since the previous survey in 2017. This underscores a widespread and serious concern among public health advocates, policy makers and practitioners about vaping in Australia.   

Strong and decisive action is needed to arrest and reverse this increase in vaping, and to prevent long term adverse effects on population health before it is too late. 

Vapes were sold to the Australian community as therapeutic goods, to aid those seeking to quit cigarette smoking and so, it is entirely appropriate to regulate them as therapeutic goods – through controls that simultaneously ensure legitimate access and provide sound public protection.   

The Bill is the centrepiece of the Government’s regulatory reforms and builds on our world leading measures implemented earlier this year to ban the import of disposable single use and non-therapeutic vapes under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1958 and to implement pre-market controls for therapeutic vapes under therapeutic goods legislation. 

The Bill complements the Public Health (Tobacco and Other Products) Act 2023, which underpins our renewed fight to reduce smoking and vaping rates and protect future generations from the devastating consequences of tobacco use and nicotine addiction. 

The Government’s vaping reforms are one part of a broader commitment to address the significant threat to public health caused by tobacco use and nicotine addiction, and to maintain Australia’s hard-fought success in tobacco control. 

Several other measures are being implemented to improve health outcomes. 

These include more help for people to quit smoking and vaping through the development and expansion of national quit support initiatives, increased awareness and education via new public health campaigns, newly developed clinical guidelines from primary health clinicians. 

Additionally, the National Cancer Screening Register Amendment Bill 2024 is also being introduced in Parliament. This will amend the National Cancer Screening Register Act 2016 to include lung cancer in the national cancer screening register. 

Through the National Lung Cancer Screening Program, eligible at-risk Australians between 50 and 70 years old will be able to get a low dose CT scan every two years, as recommended by the independent Medical Services Advisory Committee, and receive follow-up scans if there are any findings. Screening will begin for eligible individuals from July 2025. The new National Lung Cancer Screening Program will save lives through early diagnosis and treatment.    

Anyone looking to quit smoking or vaping is encouraged to contact their trusted health professional or reach out to Quitline on 13 QUIT (13 78 48) for support.

The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care said: 

“The Government is taking a world leading response to stop the risk that vapes pose to the Australian community, especially young people.  

“Vapes were sold to governments and communities around the world as a therapeutic good: a product to help hardened smokers – usually people in their 40s or 50s – to quit smoking and kick the habit. 

“If vapes are therapeutic goods then it is entirely appropriate that Australia should regulate them as therapeutic goods, instead of allowing them to be sold alongside chocolate bars and bubble gum in convenience stores, often down the road from schools. 

“The only groups who want to regulate and sell vaping products are those who profit once kids get hooked on nicotine – Big Tobacco and tobacco retailers. 

“This is a major public health issue. We won’t allow another generation of Australians to be lured into addiction by Big Tobacco.   

“This Bill ensures people can continue to access therapeutic vapes to stop smoking on the advice of their doctor, while putting in place comprehensive laws to control the manufacture, supply and commercial possession of illegal vapes.” 

“All Australian governments are in lockstep and are committed to working together to stop the disturbing growth in vaping among our young people. 

“There is support available for anyone looking to quit vaping or smoking. Contact your trusted health professional, reach out to Quitline at 13 QUIT (13 78 48), or visit for more information.”