Nicotine Prescriptions In Australia and Nicotine Vaping Products
What Is Vaping?
Vaping is another term for an e-cigarette. The vape is a battery powered device that contains a liquid. Vaping liquids can contain nicotine for use as nicotine replacement as part of a smoking cessation program. Vaping is Australia’s most popular quitting aid and is significantly more effective than nicotine replacement therapy.
The difference between smoking and vaping is that smoking delivers nicotine by burning tobacco. Smoking is dangerous as the toxins produced by burning tobacco damage your body and cause lethal smoking related illnesses. Vaping delivers nicotine by heating a liquid in a much less harmful way. Vaping is a much safer alternative than smoking cigarettes. Vaping is not harmless, but it is much less harmful than smoking.
Is nicotine vaping safer than smoking?
Vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking according to the Royal College of Physicians. This estimate is based on independent reviews of the scientific evidence by both Public Health England and the UK Royal College of Physicians.
“Although it is not possible to precisely quantify the long-term health risks associated with e-cigarettes, the available data suggest that they are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products and may well be substantially lower than this figure – Royal College of Physicians”.
Most of the dangerous toxins in cigarette smoke are not present in vapor. When smokers switch to vaping, levels of toxins and carcinogens measured in the blood, saliva and urine (‘biomarkers’) are substantially lower and for many toxins are the same as for a non-smoker. The risk of cancer from vaping has been independently estimated to be <0.5% of the risk from smoking.
Switching from cigarettes to vaping is a way to immediately minimize harm.
Is Nicotine Vaping The Most Effective Quit Smoking Strategy?
A review of worldwide quit smoking trials by British policy institute Cochrane, found rates of quitting were considerably higher in people who used vapes and e-cigarettes than when they used nicotine replacement therapies such as patches. Multiple randomised control trials were reviewed globally including studies from the USA and UK.
Quit smoking rates with vaping were over double the rates of nicotine replacement therapy alone.
How to get a nicotine vaping prescription in Australia
In Australia, it is illegal to buy or sell nicotine for use in e-cigarettes without a prescription from an Australian doctor that is an authorized prescriber of nicotine vaping products.
Quitmate doctors are Australian registered doctors that are authorized to write nicotine vaping prescriptions.
If you have been unable to quit with conventional (first line) treatment, Quitmate doctors may consider vaping nicotine as a safer alternative to cigarette smoking and provide nicotine prescriptions when appropriate. Electronic prescriptions can be written instantly and delivery organized with one of Medmate’s 1200 pharmacies nationally.
Where to buy nicotine vapes in Australia?
There are a number of online options on where to buy high-quality nicotine vapes in Australia, but the safest and most reliable option is to purchase them from a local pharmacy.
Many pharmacies now stock trusted high-quality nicotine vapes paired with ongoing medical support from pharmacists. It is important to avoid purchasing nicotine vapes from overseas suppliers, as not all products are made to a high quality, and they may not meet Australian TGO110 standards. Additionally, it is important to avoid purchasing low-quality disposable nicotine vapes from tobacconists or convenience stores, as not only is their purchase and use against the law, they are made as cheaply as possible and have the risk of containing harmful additives.
With a valid prescription from an authorised prescriber, you can order online with Quitmate and have your products home delivered from a local pharmacy anywhere in Australia.
Vape To Quit Smoking
The strategy is to completely replace your use of cigarettes with a nicotine vape. Move 100% to using the vape and stop smoking cigarettes. You should be able to do this within a matter of days. Use the nicotine vape as much as you need to stop any cravings for cigarettes.
The advantage of the nicotine vape is the ability to not significantly change your behaviour as a Step 1. So, if you smoke first thing in the morning or with a coffee, or whatever your smoking ritual is, keep doing that. However, replace the cigarette with the nicotine vape. All the harm from cigarettes comes from the burning tobacco that causes heart attack, cancer and stroke. By moving to a non-combustible nicotine vape device, you significantly reduce those risks. Vapes are not without risk, but there is strong evidence that they at least 95% safer than burning tobacco inhalation.
Step 2 should be implemented when you feel psychologically that you are an ex-smoker. This could be within the first 3-6 months of making the switch from smoking to vaping. You then work with your doctor to tackle your nicotine dependence.
- gradually reduce your nicotine vape concentration over time
- reduce you use of you vape on a daily basis
- identify and plan for high risk periods during the day when you are needing to use nicotine
The aim is to gradually move to being free of nicotine over a period of 3-12 months. So Step 1 is to minimise harm quickly by coming off combustible tobacco and Step 2 is toe tackle the nicotine dependence and cease the vape. Your doctor will be able to work with you to support this process.
What Happens When You Quit Smoking And Start Vaping?
Most smokers make the switch from smoking to vaping with relative ease. Usually within a matter of days. The most reported initial side effects are throat or mouth irritation, mild headache, cough or nausea. These are relatively uncommon and reduce over time (1-2 weeks) as people continue using the vape.
Within a few weeks most patients self report feeling like their lung capacity and exercise tolerance has improved – they can breathe more deeply. They feel more energetic and conditions like asthma and COPD improve. These reports are anecdotal and need further investigation.
It’s important to commit to the switch. Don’t smoke and vape.
Talk to a Quit Smoking Expert Or Request a Script
Book a bulk billed appointment with a Quitmate doctor today to work through a tailored treatment plan. Alternatively, if you think nicotine vaping might be suitable for you, you can request a script directly.