Australia's health regulator has formalised a ban on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, rejecting suggestions they present a safer alternative for smokers and people trying to quit.
In a final decision published on Monday, the Theraputic Goods Administration said it was not satisfied so-called HTPs offered any public health benefit.
"I do not consider HTPs would make a significant contribution to population harm reduction," the administrator said.
"I consider that maintaining the current scheduling for HTPs is necessary to protect public health from the risks associated with introducing a new nicotine product for non-therapeutic use."
Tobacco company Philip Morris said health authorities had overlooked millions of smokers and vapers.
"It's time Australian authorities recognise many adult smokers will continue to smoke cigarettes - the most harmful way of consuming nicotine - unless the government rethinks its tobacco control policy," managing director Tammy Chan said.
"Smoke-free products can play a role in reducing smoking rates."
The administrator said should smokers wish to use e-cigarettes containing nicotine, they could still apply for a prescription to do so.
The TGA received 77 submissions from people who had family members trying to quit or were smokers themselves, advocating for access to e-cigarettes.
But organisations including the Lung Foundation and Cancer Council Australia raised concerns about public health.
The use of nicotine products among young people was also raised in one submission.
Pushing to relax the rules, tobacco companies argued heated tobacco products contained less nicotine than conventional cigarettes, and were therefore less dangerous to children who breathed in smoke.
The regulator pointed out nicotine concentrations varied between HTPs and could be higher than cigarettes, making second-hand smoke even more dangerous.
Australian Associated Press
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