Vaping is changing the lives of millions of smokers across the world. Here is a quick guide about things you need to know about vaping in Australia.
What Are E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes, also known as vaping devices or electronic nicotine delivery systems or e-vaporizers are battery-operated devices used by people to inhale an aerosol that has pharmaceutical grade nicotine, food grade flavouring, propylene glycol (PG), and vegetable glycerin (VG).
E-Cigarettes can come in many shapes and appearances and designs however they all work in the same manner and are of similar components. Hundreds of e-cigarette brands exist on the market. E-cigarettes use a battery to heat a liquid into an aerosol for users to inhale.
With most pod vape e-cigarettes, inhaling activates the heating device, which vaporizes the e-liquid in the reservoir. The user then inhales the vapour or aerosol, this process is commonly referred to as vaping.
Vaping as A Harm Reduction Tool in Australia
As vaping technology has advanced, nicotine vaping has gained in popularity amongst adult smokers looking for a better alternative. With vaping, over three million Australian smokers have an opportunity to use nicotine without facing dangerous tars and other toxics that account for over 20,000 deaths in smoking individuals each year.
Vaping helps smokers continue enjoying nicotine with significantly reduced risk of health problems caused by traditional tobacco products. Public Health England maintains vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. For this reason, vaping is seen by many first world countries as a leading form of tobacco harm reduction.
Another benefit to smokers is vaping is more affordable to smoking cigarettes and comes with a wider range of options for vapers to choose from including flavour profiles, nicotine levels, and the type of vaping device.
However, while vaping nicotine is significantly safer than smoking tobacco, it is not risk free. The best thing you can do for your health is to be smoke free and vape free. If you're currently a non-smoker, don't start vaping.
We believe e-cigarettes should be made available everywhere tobacco products are ranged. To effectively regulate vaping, it should be treated as adult consumer goods like nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) and alcohol.
Nicotine Salt E-Liquid
Nicotine salts are a new innovation and vapers and smokers are finding highly effective as a means to quit cigarettes. Nicotine salts are asorbed into your system much faster, allow you to vape at higher nicotine strengths comparable to a cigarette and dont come with the rough throat-hit side effect that accompanies traditional vaping e-liquid.
Traditional freebase nicotine comes with a higher pH level (alkalinity). The increase in alkalinity leads to a harsher throat-hit, constraining its use to low nicotine strength vaping. Nicotine Salts are protonated with benzoic acid that has a balancing effect as it lowers the nicotine pH levels, reducing alkalinity. The result of this is a smoother, more satisfying vaping experience when used in a pod vaping system.
Nicotine salts are mostly used in vapes with lower power outputs such as disposable vapes and pod vape pens with higher nicotine concentrations.
Some of the advantages of nicotine salts in a pod vape kit include:
Pod vape devices are easy to use, and are available in both prefilled and refillable pod cartridges which deliver a more convenient vaping experience.
Pod vape kits are portable and fit easily in your pocket
Pod vapes are more considerate when out in public because they dont generate huge vapour clouds.
They Offer Higher Nicotine Levels
When you're trying to quit smoking, a vape that delivers a similar amount of nicotine to a traditional cigarette will be more effective in helping fight cravings than most vaping devices.
Pod Vapes use less E-Liquid
- Although nicotine salt eliquids can cost more per milliliter compared to traditional vape juice, because of the higher nicotine levels with better absorption and smaller clouds you will end up consuming a lower quantity of e-liquids.
Smoother Nicotine Delivery
- Prior to nicotine salts, heavy smokers tended to find vaping ineffective for them because in order to achieve a satisfying level of nicotine, the concentration delivered a harsh throat-hit.
Buying Nicotine in Australia using the Personal Import Scheme
In Australia, it is legal to import e-liquids and e-cigarettes containing nicotine or buying nicotine from abroad for personal therapeutic use. The importation is allowed under the Australian personal importation scheme.
The TGA’s Personal Importation Scheme allows Australians to import nicotine vaping products from abroad to help them reduce how much they smoke or stop altogether.
However, there are some requirements and limitations as the TGA outlines.
If you wish to import e-liquids and e-cigarettes containing nicotine from abroad, the TGA mandates you to comply with the law and follow some conditions. Failing to do so could run the risk of your goods being confiscated by border control.
The TGA’s conditions on nicotine importation include:
- You can import the products for your therapeutic use or that of your immediate family
- You cannot import more than a 3-month supply of nicotine e-liquids.
- The intent of this point is to control importations of commercial quantities.
- There is no clear indicator as to what constitutes a 3-month supply, if your package is under 1000ml, it is likely to pass through customs.
- You cannot import nicotine e-liquids exceeding a 15-month supply within one year
- From October 2021, the TGA intends to enforce the requirement of having a prescription from a registered medical professional.
The Future of Vaping in Australia
Australian policy makers unfortunately have an over-cautious approach to regulating vaping in Australia, it is generally accepted that vaping is an effective tool for tobacco harm reduction and Australia is the only first world country to not regulate vaping as a consumer good.
The good news is vaping will remain available (albeit less accessible) under the personal importation scheme.
FutureMoving forward, it is a matter of "when" not "if" nicotine vaping will be regulated in Australia.
- In 2017, a management consultant to the banking and telecommunications sector turned federal Health Minister , Greg Hunt, declares "he will never lift the ban on e-cigarettes despite most evidence suggesting their effective use as a tobacco harm reduction tool."  To this date, Greg Hunt remains Federal Minister of Health and has not changed his view on vaping despite several failed attempts to ban vaping altogether.
- Australian advocacy groups such as Legalise Vaping Australia (LVA) and Athra have been continuously fighting for Australian smokers rights to use a better alternative.
- In March 2021 the National party voted for Australia to join every other developed country and legalize vaping products as a consumer good in the Nationals Federal Conference.
- In April 2021 the University of Queensland released research demonstrating e-cigarettes are more effective in helping smokers quit than nicotine replacement therapies.