The only country in the world that currently requires a prescription for nicotine vaping products is Australia. It’s also the country with one of the highest taxes on cigarettes, which, in stark contrast to e-cigarettes, can actually be purchased at local stores nationwide. So while the cost of cigarettes in Australia is much higher than it is in most other countries, they remain freely accessible to adults. In stark contrast, e-cigarette users must obtain a vaping prescription from a licensed doctor in order to purchase nicotine vaping products, which can then only be purchased from Australian pharmacies and overseas suppliers.
Researchers from around the world have reached similar findings when it comes to e-cigarettes and how they compare to cigarettes. The general consensus? They’re likely much less harmful. This has led some governments to implore smokers to switch to vaping. Australia, however, is not one of those countries. Not yet, anyway. For now, the Australian Government has made vaping with nicotine prescription-only. Despite pleas for nicotine vaping products to be as accessible as conventional cigarettes in the country, those in power continue to march forward with their prescription-only plan for nicotine e-cigarettes.
Why The Difference In Accessibility?
Who can really say why the Australian Government opted for a prescription-only plan for vaping? Noise was made over youth vaping concerns and while that may alone justify the prescription requirement, it has not stopped what ABC News has described as a “thriving black market for nicotine vapes”. So has the prescription-only model proven effective? That certainly does not appear to be the case at this point.
Opinion: Another Hurdle Won’t Help Smokers
It is our opinion here at Aus Vape that another hurdle standing in the way of smokers who are trying to quit smoking is not to their benefit. With over 2 million adults in Australia categorised as daily smokers, creating another obstacle for them to overcome in the form of a prescription requirement does a lot of harm to society as a whole. The Australian Government should make it easier for smokers to quit, not harder.
If we look at what’s happening in the United Kingdom as far as vaping is concerned, what we see could not be more different. Instead of making e-cigs prescription-only, we see widespread accessibility of nicotine vaping products to adult smokers, the government encouraging smokers to switch to vaping, and even a free e-cigarette starter kit scheme aimed at helping smokers quit smoking by switching to e-cigs.
The free vape starter kit program, a pilot scheme run in Norfolk, helped two in five smokers quit. Without a doubt, the program proved to be a success.
And then we look at Australia and what do we see? A prescription requirement that makes it that much more difficult for smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.