As of October 1 it is illegal to buy nicotine vaping products in Australia without a prescription from a GP. With the new regulations being implemented on Friday the Australian Association of Convenience Stores has said the changes will leave regional retailers in the dark.
Chief executive of the AACS Theo Foukkare said that many regional retailers are unaware of how these changes will affect their operations.
"Many Australians in regional and remote areas will find it baffling that they have to travel hundreds of kilometres to visit a GP clinic and a pharmacist to get their nicotine vaping product," Mr Foukkare said.
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"These vaping rules are completely unnecessary and a backwards step for Australia. Money will continue to go offshore to provide vape products. Right now we need every dollar here in Australia to support the economic recovery."
Mr Foukkare said that Australians who already use vapes will now be forced to sit in a waiting room at their doctor or buy from an offshore website just to get their hands on a nicotine vaping product.
"The situation is ridiculous," Mr Foukkare said.
"Right at the time Australia's health system is trying to deal with a global pandemic, the Government is pushing more Australians to visit their regional and remote GP clinics just to get a prescription.
"There is surely a better way to do this."
However, the Australia Medical Association welcomes the new regulations and strong position taken by the state government, as AMA Tasmania spokesperson Dr Annette Barratt said more is needed to be done to protect the community.
"We know that nicotine-containing vaping products will only be accessed via a prescription from a doctor under these new rules. Let's be very clear vaping is not the risk-free version of smoking that some would have us believe.
"It is addictive and associated with proven harms to a person's health. E-cigarettes are simply a potentially deadly substitute for cigarette smoking," an AMA spokesperson said.
"There are proven evidence-based methods to help people stop smoking. There is no evidence that vaping is a safe method or a successful method to assist people to quit smoking and vaping.
"Many GP's are refusing to prescribe vaping products, which they know will harm their patients."
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