Consumer-driven application to make e-cigarettes with nicotine legally available in Australia


MEDIA RELEASE: New Nicotine Alliance Australia (NNA)

Friday 5 August 2016


The New Nicotine Alliance Australia (NNA) today announced that it has made a submission to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for low-strength nicotine for use in electronic cigarettes to be made legally available in Australia as a substitute for smoking. Electronic cigarettes have the potential to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Australian smokers by providing a safer alternative to tobacco smoking, the leading preventable cause of death and illness in Australia.


“It is ludicrous to ban a product that the UK’s Department of Health and the UK Royal College of Physicians have concluded is at least 95 per cent safer than smoking while deadly tobacco cigarettes can be purchased at any corner shop or petrol station in Australia”, said Donna Darvill, NNA spokesperson.


“The use of nicotine in electronic cigarettes has the potential for huge improvements in public health in Australia. Studies from overseas have shown that millions of smokers have now switched from burning tobacco to vaping. In fact, electronic cigarettes are now used more than any other method for reducing the harm from tobacco smoking in the UK, including nicotine patches.”


“The UK’s Royal College of Physicians recently concluded that “in the interests of public health it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking”. This cannot be ignored by the Commonwealth Department of Health,” said Dr Attila Danko, President of the NNA.


“Some people have raised concerns that electronic cigarettes with nicotine will act as a gateway to smoking in young people, but there is no good evidence for this. Last week, Cancer Research UK stated that “the overwhelming majority of e-cigarette users, also referred to as vapers, are current or ex-smokers, and use by non-smokers and children is extremely low”.


“It’s absurd that the only generally-available legal access to nicotine is by way of deadly tobacco smoking”, Ms Darvill said. ”Keeping nicotine-containing vaping devices illegal deprives many thousands of Australian smokers a safer alternative to burning tobacco”


New Zealand’s Ministry of Health announced its intention to legalise nicotine for electronic cigarettes this week”, she said. “Australia risks the embarrassment of falling behind New Zealand if the Commonwealth Department of Health does not legalise low-strength nicotine solutions for use in electronic cigarettes”


In New Zealand, the Government has in principle agreed to nicotine e-cigarettes being legally available for local retail sale and supply. A public consultation process is currently underway there. This is in contrast to a closed-door policy review currently being undertaken for the Australian government that is subject to ‘invitation only’ comments and excludes vapers and other experts working in this field.


The NNA’s application will be considered by the TGA’s Advisory Committee on Chemical Scheduling in November 2016  https://www.tga.gov.au/media-release/general-process-amending-poisons-standard-nicotine


If a favourable outcome is achieved, low-dose nicotine for use in electronic cigarettes could be available as an alternative to deadly tobacco for adults by mid-2017. The Department of Health will now be seeking input from the public and interested parties during August


As part of its awareness campaign, the NNA is supporting a lunchtime rally on the steps of the Victorian Parliament on 16th August. “The rally will highlight the consumer demand for this powerful harm reduction initiative which has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of Australian lives,” Dr Danko said.


“Thousands of Australian vapers need their voices to be heard.”


For Comment:

Donna Darvill Board Member

Dr Attila Danko President

New Nicotine Alliance Australia

Ph. 0437 686 594

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The New Nicotine Alliance Australia is a ‘not for profit’ consumer organisation that works to educate and advocate about the use of safer nicotine alternatives to tobacco smoking. It does not and will not accept any financial contributions from the Tobacco, E-Cigarette or Pharmaceutical Industries.