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Media Release

Cancer Council welcomes the passage of the vaping legislation that marks essential progress towards driving down Australia’s vaping rates

June 25, 2024

Cancer Council welcomes the vaping legislation passed by the Senate today that will put an end date on the sale of disposable non-therapeutic vapes in retail stores, protecting the health of all Australians.  

While the legislation passed with amendments that remove the requirement for a prescription from a doctor, it marks essential progress towards driving down vaping rates across all age groups.  

The legislation establishes that from October 1, 2024, vapes will only be available behind the counter from a pharmacist. 

Chair of Cancer Council’s Public Health Committee, Anita Dessaix, says that the passage of this legislation will ensure the health of young Australians is protected from the harms of nicotine and toxic chemicals in vapes.  

“Today marks a great shift towards ending the vaping crisis in Australia. Senators have listened to the concerns of communities, parents, and health experts and taken the necessary step towards stopping the sale of vapes in retail stores, united in their intent to protect children.” 

“All states and territories have supported the legislation, as it will simplify local enforcement efforts as all vapes will be treated the same regardless of nicotine content – only available in pharmacies as a therapeutic product to help people quit smoking.”  

“The bill will go a long way to making sure vapes are not readily available to young people and non-smokers. It signals to young people that vaping is only for therapeutic use and should not be considered socially acceptable.”  

The legislation includes a review period that ensures accurate assessment of its impact and can evolve the legislation as needed, particularly to review monitoring and compliance efforts via this new pharmacy access model. 

It will complement the reforms that have already come into effect, including the import restrictions of disposable non-therapeutic vapes, as well as requirements for pharmaceutical packaging and flavouring restrictions on vapes. Combined with the recent federal government investment in public health campaigns and quit support, this new retail environment will better support young Australians to quit and prevent more Australians from taking up vaping in future.  

Evidence shows vapes are not safe, can cause harm like addiction, poisoning, acute nicotine toxicity and lung injury and young Australians who vape are three times as likely to take up tobacco smoking.   

“Australia has made significant progress to reduce smoking rates among young Australians, and with these new reforms, we can safeguard and improve upon Australia’s low smoking rates.” 

“Cancer Council is pleased to see the legislation pass as it will put a stop to a new generation of Australians becoming addicted to nicotine.” 

“We look forward to working with all levels of government, state, territory and federal to implement this legislation to ensure that the reforms are working as intended for all Australians.”  

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