“A patient’s doctor is uniquely placed to give the support required for long-lasting smoking cessation,” it said.
“The long-term health risks of nicotine e-cigarettes use are still unclear and, at the time of making my final decision, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has not approved any e-cigarette product as a smoking cessation aid.”
In response to the TGA’s decision, the government will scrap contentious customs regulations, which included a fine of up to $200,000 for those illegally importing nicotine. The regulation was opposed by a large group of backbenchers, and due to kick in from the start of next year.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said it was important to note that any doctor could prescribe nicotine-based e-cigarettes.
“This is not widely understood, and it is an important matter of public information that over 30,000 GPs may currently, and in the future, prescribe nicotine-based e-cigarettes for smoking cessation,” he said.
The possession of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes is illegal without a prescription in every state and territory, besides South Australia.
The Senate select inquiry report, published on Friday, recommended a prescription-based model for nicotine e-cigarettes.
In a joint statement issued on Monday in response to that report, the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health endorsed a prescription-only model.
“At this stage, there is insufficient evidence that nicotine-delivering e-cigarettes actually help people quit smoking, compared to other cessation aids, and there is strong evidence that they increase the risk of young people taking up smoking,” AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid said.