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Pharmacist-only supply of nicotine vaping products: proposing an alternative regulatory model for Australia
  1. Samuel Brookfield1,2,
  2. Kathryn J Steadman2,3,
  3. Lisa Nissen4,
  4. Coral E Gartner1,2
  1. 1School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame, The University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland, Woolloongabba, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4Centre for the Business and Economics of Health, Faculty of Business Economics and Law, The University of Queensland, Saint Lucia, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Coral E Gartner, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia; c.gartner{at}


Regulation of nicotine vaping products (NVPs) is an ongoing challenge across the world. Australia currently has a globally unique NVP regulatory model that requires a medical prescription to purchase and use NVPs, with further restrictions in progress in response to evidence of widespread illicit NVP sales. Against this background, we examine the new measures and consider a modification of the model to pharmacist-only supply as an option for increasing access to NVPs for smoking cessation, while retaining health practitioner oversight of supply. We describe the strengths and challenges of implementing a pharmacist-only NVP supply option in Australia. Compared with the current prescription-only model, pharmacist-only supply could increase access to a lower exposure nicotine product in a highly regulated therapeutic context while addressing youth access and purchasing for non-therapeutic use, reduce demand for illicit products for smoking cessation purposes and avoid overburdening medical services with consultations to obtain NVP prescriptions. This approach can also accommodate current government goals such as eliminating NVP advertising, youth-focused branding and supply from grocery and convenience stores.

  • Electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • Nicotine
  • Cessation
  • Harm Reduction
  • Public policy

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  • X @s_brookfield, @CoralGartner

  • Contributors CEG conceived the study and obtained funding. SB wrote first draft. All authors contributed critical revisions.

  • Funding This research received funding from an ARC Future Fellowship held by CG. ARC Grant# FT220100186.

  • Competing interests No, there are no competing interests.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.