The Therapeutic Goods Administration is proposing to approve the supply of e-cigarettes containing nicotine with a doctor's prescription.
"To support smoking cessation, the requirement for a prescription would provide an opportunity for patients to consult with their medical practitioner as to whether e-cigarettes or other products containing nicotine are right for you as an aid to stop smoking," said the regulator.
"Medical practitioners are well placed to support smoking cessation and advise on how to reduce the risks associated with nicotine use. It is anticipated that nicotine e-cigarette products for smoking cessation will be available from both community pharmacies and appropriate Australian online pharmacies."
The TGA said the requirement for a prescription will help prevent the rapid growth of vaping as a potential pathway to cigarette smoking.
"Between 2015 and 2019, e-cigarette use by young people increased by 72% in the US, 150% in Canada and 96% in Australia," it said, adding the proposed change will not impact access to registered products to help smokers quit such as gums, sprays and patches.