So what happens now?
Well, the TGA will open up the proposal for public submissions. That should happen fairly soon with the TGA announcing that it will open consultation for 20 business days during August.
From there the proposal, along with any public submissions, will be considered at a joint meeting of the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling and the Advisory Committee on Chemical Scheduling in November.
At that point an interim decision will be made, which the TGA will publish on its website in February next year. There will then be another call for further submissions from the public. Once those have been received and considered, a final decision will be made public in March 2017.
The NNA announced on its Facebook Page that they are working on a strategy for consumers who would like to make a submission and will advise in coming days.
Ban on nicotine “ludicrous”
NNA spokesperson Donna Darvill said it was ludicrous to ban a product the UK’s Department of Health and the UK Royal College of Physicians have concluded is at least 95 per cent safer than smoking.
“The use of nicotine in electronic cigarettes has the potential for huge improvements in public health in Australia,” Ms Darvill said.
“Studies from overseas have shown that millions of smokers have now switched from burning tobacco to vaping. In fact, electronic cigarettes are now used more than any other method for reducing the harm from tobacco smoking in the UK, including nicotine patches.”
President of the NNA, Dr Attila Danka said it’s time for the Government to act.
“The UK’s Royal College of Physicians recently concluded that “in the interests of public health it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking,” Dr Danka said.
“This cannot be ignored by the Commonwealth Department of Health.”
The NNA submission comes straight after news from New Zealand that the Ministry of Health is looking into legalising nicotine for electronic cigarettes in NZ.
Ms Darvill said Australia risked the embarrassment of falling behind New Zealand if the Commonwealth Department of Health did not legalise low-strength nicotine solutions for use in electronic cigarettes.
The New Nicotine Alliance Australia is a ‘not for profit’ consumer organisation that works to educate and advocate about the use of safer nicotine alternatives to tobacco smoking. It does not and will not accept any financial contributions from the Tobacco, E-Cigarette or Pharmaceutical Industries. However, if you want to add your support to their endeavours, you can head to their site and make a donation.