Nicotine Vaping Products as Prescription only Medicine for Smoking Cessation

From 1 October 2021, changes were introduced to nicotine prescribing in Australia. 

The Poison Standard clarifies the regulation of Schedule 4 medicine. nicotine vaping products are classified as “unapproved” therapeutic goods.

A prescription is required for Australians to legally access nicotine vaping products. This will be for the purposes of smoking cessation.

The affected products include e-cigarettes including nicotine vaping liquid, e-juice and “heat not burn” tobacco products.

The changes do not affect nicotine replacement therapies, cigarettes, or tobacco for the purpose of making your own cigarettes.

All other nicotine products are now prescription only medicine and child resistant closures are mandatory. 

This regulatory change provides the opportunity for GPs to have conversations with patients about smoking cessation.

If vaping products are appropriate for smoking cessation the GP can write a prescription via three mechanisms. There are three pathways for legal access to “unapproved” nicotine vaping products.

  1. Authorised Prescriber Scheme 
  2. Special Access Scheme
  3. Personal Importation Scheme 

MIPS encourages GPs who decide to prescribe nicotine vaping products for smoking cessation to make themselves familiar with the guidelines and information surrounding the legislation.

The Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) has introduced new item number related to Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Counselling

Some useful resources:

RACGP guidelines – Supporting smoking cessation

TGA – Vaping products, Authorised prescribers, Special access scheme

NPS – Prescribing nicotine

Any queries, contact MIPS
Insurance cover is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy. The information provided is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances or needs. You should review the Member Handbook Combined PDS and FSG and/or contact MIPS on 1800 061 113, before making a decision. Information is current as at the date published.