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Nicotine vaping products for smoking cessation

From 1 October 2021, consumers will require a prescription for all purchases of nicotine vaping products (NVPs), such as nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine. This includes products purchased both in Australia and imported from overseas.

Quit and the Heart Foundation have developed a Position Statement: Smoking and Vaping Cessation, which has been endorsed by other peak health and medical groups. The key messages for health professionals, from this position statement, are:

  • All people who smoke and/or vape should be encouraged and helped to quit as a matter of urgency. 
  • Health professionals should provide brief advice at every encounter to promote smoking cessation and facilitate treatment.  
  • First-line, evidence-based treatment for smoking cessation is multi-session behavioural intervention combined, if clinically appropriate, with pharmacotherapies approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA; varenicline, bupropion and nicotine replacement therapies).  
  • Quitlines are recommended for multi-session behavioural intervention because of their accessibility and because they use tailored protocols for specific groups, including for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples through the ‘Aboriginal Quitline’. 
  • Noting that people often need to make several quit attempts before successfully quitting 1, a prescribed nicotine vaping product (NVP) should only be considered  for smoking cessation if first-line treatment has repeatedly been unsuccessful. 
  • To date, the TGA has not approved any NVPs for smoking cessation. From 1 October 2021, all unapproved NVPs will require a prescription from a medical practitioner. Given the lack of evidence for their safety, quality and efficacy and the availability of approved pharmacotherapies, we do not encourage the use of NVPs for smoking cessation.  
  • If a medical practitioner determines an NVP is clinically appropriate for smoking cessation, it should also be used with multi-session behavioural intervention.

Clinical resources

Education resources

Webinar: Smoking cessation - practice considerations after 1 October 2021

Presented by : Professors John Skerritt (Deputy Secretary, Department of Health/Therapeutic Goods Administration) and Nick Zwar (Chair, RACGP Smoking Cessation Guidelines Expert Advisory Group) 

Webinar: Smoking cessation – clinical guidance for nicotine vaping products

Presented by : Professor Nick Zwar (Chair, RACGP Smoking Cessation Guidelines Expert Advisory Group) and Dr Shane Jackson (Chair, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Smoking cessation guidelines Expert Advisory Group)

Online training courses

* Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and Quit - accredited online training for pharmacists

Part 1:  Smoking cessation brief advice training for pharmacists (external link to Pharmaceutical Society of Australia platform)

- This training will equip pharmacists with the skills, confidence and knowledge to have fast, simple and effective brief advice conversations with patients about smoking. Accreditation Code: CONL21008 (Group 1: 1.50 and Group 2: 3.00)

Part 2: Dispensing nicotine vaping products explained (external link to Pharmaceutical Society of Australia platform)

- Learn how people can access nicotine vaping products with a valid prescription, learn about the different types of vaping devices and the safety considerations for these products. Accreditation Code: CONL21009 (Group 1: 1.00 and Group 2: 2.00)

Legal and regulatory changes

For detailed information on how to legally access, prescribe and supply nicotine vaping products visit the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Nicotine vaping products hub.

Reference

1.             Chaiton M, Diemert L, Cohen JE, et al. Estimating the number of quit attempts it takes to quit smoking successfully in a longitudinal cohort of smokers. BMJ Open. 2016;6(6):e011045. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011045

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