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Australia Cracks Illegal E-Cigarette Importers

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Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has fined four individuals and companies more than AUD170,000 ($122,740) for unlawfully advertising or importing vaping products, reports The Guardian.

Since October, Australian vapers have been required to obtain a doctor’s prescription for nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and liquids. Doctors are supposed to prescribe the products only as a last resort when more proven quit treatments fail. The law changes were prompted by concerns about the health impacts of vaping, and data showing children are increasingly using the products.

In response to the new rules, companies have set up websites offering to link vapers to a health practitioner authorized to prescribe the products. But the law allows only pharmacies and pharmacy-marketing groups to advertise in a limited way. Non-pharmacy websites that advertise vaping products or links to online suppliers are likely to be noncompliant with the nicotine advertising permissions.

The fined companies are Mason Online, RV Global Ecommerce, Vapespot and a Melbourne-based individual.

Maurice Swanson, chief executive of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, said he was pleased with the TGA’s actions.

“We welcome the strong monitoring of illegal advertising which doesn’t meet the guidance provided by the TGA,” he said. “The TGA’s advertising guidelines have been well-known and well-promoted, so companies can’t claim not to have known about it.”

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