The TGA or Therapeutic Goods Administration has put up an infographic on how the model would look like. They are oversimplifying the entire process to make it seem like they are being reasonable, but it truly isn’t.
The first step: Consultation with Doctor
Not all doctors in Australia are versed with vaping. You cannot just walk into a doctor’s office and ask about vaping, not because they don’t want to, but they’re simply not informed about it. Informing and training all doctors in Australia about vaping will be a gigantic task that the TGA has not considered. Unlike prescription medication where a writeup and some literature will work, vaping is much more complicated than that.
As of last count, there are less than a dozen doctors all over Australia that are knowledgeable and are willing to make prescriptions for nicotine e-liquid. ATHRA states that there are over half a million vapers all over Australia. From that number alone, if we divide it among the doctors who are willing and able to prescribe nicotine, you would get a ratio of 41,000 vapers per doctor. Each doctor would have to see a 112 vapers per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year just for all of the CURRENT vapers to get a prescription. Assuming a doctor works 8 hours a day, every day, Monday through Sunday, he or she would have to see 15 people per hour, or spend less than 4 minutes per person, without taking breaks.
Now tell me, what sort of medical advice can a doctor give a person in 4 minutes? And we’re not even factoring in non-vapers who want to switch from tobacco to smoking! And not only that, a prescription is good for three months’ worth of nicotine e-liquid, after three months, a person would have to get back in line to get another prescription! If they’re so worried about the health of people, then why not make cigarettes prescription-only as well?
The Next Step: Ordering Online or getting from a local pharmacy
Now, this goes back into our previous argument about limiting vaper choices. Who can say that a local pharmacy will have the unit or flavor that’s preferred by the vaper? What if the nicotine level that the vaper needs isn’t available in the local pharmacy? What then? If people say, well just order online.
That’s true, ordering online works, but who orders three months’ worth of vape juice? That’s a big chunk of change right there, and what if you don’t like the flavors available online? It takes away from our ability to try and explore new flavors because no one in his or her right mind would buy three months’ worth of untested nicotine e-liquid flavors.
And who is to say that all international sources of nicotine e-liquids are reputable? Instead of going to a local business that test and try out all of their products for quality, vapers will be left with a coin toss with the quality of their vaping products.
The final hurdle: Getting the nicotine e-liquid across the Australian Border
Once it becomes a regulated product, it will add an extra burden to our already overworked customs officials, taking time away from things that they should be checking like illegal drugs, weapons, smuggled goods, and other things that are more important than a couple of bottles of nicotine e-liquid.