Purpose of the Bill
The Vaporised Nicotine Products Bill 2017 (Bill) is a private senators'
bill introduced by Senators Leyonhjelm and Roberts. The Bill seeks to exclude e‑cigarettes
from regulation by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in order to
legalise e-cigarettes in Australia.
Schedule 1 amends three Acts to permit the importation, use and
advertisement of e-cigarettes. The Bill amends:
the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (TG Act), to ensure that
nicotine delivered via an electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) is subject
to the same regulations as other nicotine products under the Standard for
the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons;
the Airports Act 1996 (Airports Act), is amended to permit
e‑cigarettes to be used in airports; and
the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992 (TAP Act), is
amended to permit ENDS products to be advertised by modifying the definition of
The Senate Select Committee on Red Tape, chaired by Senator Leyonhjelm, has
previously considered e‑cigarettes in the context of its interim report
into the effect of red tape on tobacco retail. The majority report noted the
inability of some Australians to legally purchase nicotine products and recommended
that Commonwealth, state and territory governments develop and implement an
appropriate framework for alternative nicotine delivery systems.
On 25 May 2017, the Minister for Health, Aged Care and Sport, The Hon
Greg Hunt MP, referred an inquiry into the Use and Marketing of Electronic
Cigarettes and Personal Vaporisers in Australia to the House of Representatives
Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport (Health Committee).
The Health Committee's inquiry will consider the use and marketing of e‑cigarettes
to assist people to quit smoking, in addition to the health impacts,
international approaches and appropriate regulatory framework for e-cigarettes
and personal vaporisers.
Scrutiny of Bills Committee
The Senate Scrutiny of Bills Committee considered the Bill in its Scrutiny
Digest 8 of 2017 and made no comment on the Bill.
Parliamentary Joint Committee on
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (PJCHR) considered that
the Bill appeared to give rise to human rights concerns.
The PJCHR noted that the right to health, protected by article 12(1) of
the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, imposes
obligations on Australia with respect to tobacco and other harmful substances.
Regarding the risks posed by e-cigarettes, the committee stated that:
it is noted that it is unclear at this stage exactly what the
health impacts of nicotine e-cigarettes are. However, it is well established
that nicotine is a highly addictive drug, including one that may appeal to and
be marketed to children.
The PJCHR further noted that the Bill's statement of compatibility 'does
not acknowledge that the right to health is engaged', and subsequently does not
provide details regarding the compatibility of the measures with the right to
The committee recommended that the human rights implications of the Bill
be drawn to the attention of the legislation's proponents and the Parliament.
It further noted that, subject to the Bill proceeding to further stages of
debate, that the PJCHR may request further information from the proponents of
Conduct of the inquiry
The Bill was introduced to the Senate on 19 June 2017. The Senate Selection
of Bills Committee referred the Bill to the committee for inquiry and report by
13 September 2017.
The committee advertised the inquiry on its website and wrote to
relevant individuals and organisations inviting submissions by 4 August
2017. A list of submissions to the inquiry is available at Appendix 1. The
committee decided not to hold a hearing as part of this inquiry.
The committee received a number of submissions expressing general
support for the deregulation of e-cigarettes, including many accounts of
personal experiences using e-cigarettes. The committee also received 2023 form
letters similarly expressing general support for deregulation of e-cigarettes.
An example of these letters is available on the committee website. These
expressions of general support have been noted in the committee's consideration
of the Bill.
The committee thanks those submitters who submitted to the inquiry.
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