Product standards for therapeutic vapes will be strengthened next year, the government has said, as it carries through on its pledge to reform vaping regulations in Australia.

But it remains unclear how, or even if the reforms will impact cannabis companies which sell vapes as part of their product range.

Announcing a broad range of measures designed primarily to prevent more children becoming addicted to nicotine, health minister Mark Butler said the first stage will see a ban, from January 1, on the importation of disposable single-use vapes.

That will be followed in March by the scrapping of the personal importation scheme, a ban on the importation of non-therapeutic vapes, and a requirement for therapeutic vape importers and manufacturers to notify the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of their product’s compliance with product standards.

In addition, importers will need a licence and permit from the Office of Drug Control (ODC) before products are imported.  

It added that, during 2024, “product standards for therapeutic vapes will be strengthened”, although only limited details were disclosed.

A government statement said flavours will be limited, nicotine concentrations reduced and packaging required to take on a therapeutic appearance, suggesting there will be little change for cannabis firms.

But the possibility remains that cannabis vape products may also need to hit new standards.

Cannabiz reported last week how the ODC is seeking discussions with the already-regulated medicinal cannabis industry in a move to prevent companies being adversely impacted by the reforms.

The TGA said in a statement that consideration is being given to “maintaining existing regulations for cannabis vapes wherever possible”.

“However, initially, it is likely that there will be some changes in relation to re-usable vaping devices,” it said.

“Some devices that are currently excluded from the therapeutic goods regulatory scheme are expected to become regulated and it is expected there will be new requirements to obtain import permissions and confirm vaping devices meet quality standards.

“Longer term, the TGA will review the standards applicable to cannabis vaping substances.”

Steve has reported for a number of consumer and B2B titles over a journalism career spanning more than three decades. He is a regulator contributor to health journal, The Medical Republic, writing on...

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