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News and Reviews

Be prepared for vaping law changes

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

Be prepared for vaping law changes

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging GPs to be prepared for changes to vaping laws coming into effect on 1 October.

Under the changes nicotine vaping products, such as nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine, will be available only by prescription as a smoking cessation tool. People will no longer be able to buy these products or import them from overseas websites without a valid prescription.

GPs can prescribe nicotine vaping products by becoming an Authorised Prescriber (only takes a few minutes and is free), through the Special Access Scheme or providing a prescription for three months’ supply via the Personal Importation Scheme.

The RACGP has produced evidence-based guidance for health professionals to support smoking cessation. The guidance covers the evidence on effectiveness of nicotine vaping products for supporting smoking cessation, their place in therapy and the practicalities of prescribing them. In the absence of an evidence base for how to prescribe these products for therapeutic use, practice points have been developed to minimise risk to prescribers and patients, including:

· nicotine vaping products are currently not approved therapeutic products, and it is valid and reasonable for medical practitioners to opt not to prescribe them

· if prescribing, use the Authorised Prescriber or Special Access Scheme prescribing pathways instead of the Personal Importation Scheme to minimise the risk of the patient receiving imported products that do not meet the TGO 110 requirements. These include requirements on labelling, child-resistant packaging, and the prohibition of other active ingredients beside nicotine

· avoid prescribing free-base nicotine at concentrations over 20mg/mL and limit the quantity of nicotine vaping products per prescription to a maximum of three months’ supply (and align the duration of supply with the timing of follow-up)

· avoid the use of flavours or limit these to just tobacco flavour since flavouring chemicals are not standardised and their safety for inhalation into the lung is not known.

· provide follow up as well as behavioural support.

RACGP President Dr Karen Price encouraged all GPs to familiarise themselves with the changes.

“GPs have a lot on their plate right now but it’s important that they are aware of what these changes to vaping laws mean for them and their patients,” she said.

“Prescriptions for nicotine vaping products are not a first-line treatment for smoking cessation and should only be tried when other measures, such as nicotine replacement therapy with behavioural support, have failed.

“It will be the job of GPs in communities across Australia to apply discretion and judgment when considering the patient’s individual circumstances.

“Those who do have a prescription will be able to obtain nicotine vaping products by filling the prescription via a pharmacy.”

The RACGP President said that there were resources available to help bring GPs up to speed with the changes.

“Any GP keen to learn more about these changes can take part in a webinar organised by Quitline and accredited by the RACGP on 5 October, which includes clinical guidance for nicotine vaping products,” she said.

“The webinar will describe the process for prescribing nicotine vaping products and outline all the clinical considerations involved. I encourage all GPs to sign up and learn about these changes that are coming into effect.

“It’s important that GPs are wary of being pressured into prescribing these nicotine vaping products. The laws governing these products are in place for a reason – the long-term health effects of using e-cigarettes or ‘vaping’ are unknown and the evidence base for their efficacy as a smoking cessation tool remains uncertain.

“A prescription for these products should only be used as a last resort, vaping is not a risk-free, harmless version of smoking cigarettes. These are addictive and harmful products that can prove fatal if ingested in certain amounts.”

Dr Price also urged people seeking access to nicotine vaping products to be patient and respectful of GPs and practice staff.

“I understand that these changes will take some people by surprise. Please don’t take your frustrations out on GPs, practice managers, nurses, receptionists or administrative workers,” she said.

“They are not the ones who made these rules and GPs will only be able to prescribe these products as a last line treatment for smoking cessation.

“I encourage anyone who smokes or vapes to consult with their GP about quitting and explore the pharmacotherapy and behavioural treatments and supports available. This includes nicotine replacement therapy in the form of a patch, spray, gum or lozenge. There are also several effective drugs that are available such as varenicline, which blocks the pleasure and reward response to smoking, as well as bupropion hydrochloride, which reduces the urge to smoke.

“Many people see quitting as just too difficult but with the right approach, including the support and guidance of a GP and having strong strategies in place, it is possible. It could be the best health decision you ever make.”

Details about the webinar on 5 October and registration can be found here.

The RACGP was selected as one of the recipients of the 2020 World No Tobacco Day awards for our valuable work including the release of new Smoking Cessation Guidelines 2020. Note: The smoking cessation guideline’s conditional recommendation 15 concerning vaping can be found here on the RACGP website.

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News and Reviews

Man charged following unit fire – Tweed Heads

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Man charged following unit fire – Tweed Heads

A man has been charged following a unit fire on the far north coast yesterday.

About 10.50pm (Thursday 17 March 2022), police attended an address on Boundary Street, Tweed Heads, after reports of a concern for welfare.

Upon arrival, officers attached to Tweed/Byron Police District spoke to a woman before observing a fire in a separate unit.

Fire and Rescue NSW attended and extinguished the blaze.

A 23-year-old man was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics after sustaining injuries when he jumped from a second-storey balcony.

He was arrested and taken to Tweed Heads Hospital for treatment before being taken to Tweed Heads Police Station.

Up to 20 people were evacuated from the unit block and two neighbouring unit complexes.

Eight police officers were also treated for minor smoke inhalation, with four officers taken to hospital. They have since been released.

There were no other reports of injuries.

The man has been charged with nine offences including destroy or damage property, aggravated break, enter and commit indictable offence, common assault and five counts of destroy or damage property with intention of endangering life.

He was refused bail and will appear at Ballina Local Court today (Friday 18 March 2022).

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News and Reviews

A red sports car, new house and holidays: Coffs Harbour’s $60 million Powerball winner reveals wish list

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

A red sports car, new house and holidays: Coffs Harbour’s $60 million Powerball winner reveals wish list

Video grabs about the Coffs Harbour Powerball winner is available here
Audio grabs about the Coffs Harbour Powerball winner is available here
Footage of tonight’s Powerball draw is available here

  • A Coffs Harbour man is ready to park a new sports car in the garage of his new house after scoring more than $60 million in last night’s Powerball draw.
  • The New South Wales player held one of the two division one winning entries nationally in Powerball draw 1345 on Thursday 24 February 2022. Each division one winning entry scored $63,309,056.98.
  • The other division one winning entry from last night’s draw was from Western Australia.
  • Despite becoming one of Australia’s newest multi-millionaires, the down-to-earth Coffs Harbour resident said he would still turn up to work today.
  • His winning entry was purchased at Coffs News, Shop 104, 92-98 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour.

A Coffs Harbour man is ready to park a new sports car in the garage of his new house after scoring more than $60 million in last night’s Powerball draw.

The New South Wales player held one of the two division one winning entries nationally in Powerball draw 1345 on Thursday 24 February 2022. Each division one winning entry scored $63,309,056.98.

The other division one winning entry from last night’s draw was from Western Australia.

The New South Wales multi-million-dollar winning entry was not registered to a player card, which meant officials from The Lott couldn’t contact the winner last night.

However, the middle-aged family man checked his ticket this morning, prompting immediate celebrations.

“Oh mate! It’s unbelievable!” he cried.

“It’s like a dream come true. I just never thought I’d win like this.

“I just checked my ticket earlier this morning. I scanned it on the app. I just couldn’t believe it. It came up as division one!  Oh mate, it’s huge!

“Happy days!

“I’ve started a wish list already. Straight up – a red sports car, a new house, holidays, you name it. I also really want to look after my family.

“It’s funny as I’ve been watching the news all morning, and they were saying someone’s won Powerball in Coffs Harbour. I’m sitting here thinking, ‘I can’t believe that winner is me!’.

“I’m going to have a weekend of celebrations with my family, but I still have to work today.”

The regular player’s winning entry was purchased at Coffs News, Shop 104, 92-98 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour.

Coffs News owner Darren Girard said his entire team was celebrating the massive division one win.

“It’s so exciting for the winner,” he said.

“We’re a big part of the community, so to know a local has won is just amazing.

“Last night, we discovered we’d sold the winning ticket and we were over the moon. We barely slept a wink; we were up thinking about the win and what we could do to promote it.

“This is our biggest division one win, so it’s a big moment for us, too. Bring on the next big win!

“Congratulations to our winner. We appreciate their support and hope this multi-million-dollar prize makes a great difference to their life.”

In addition to the two division one winners in last night’s draw, there were 36 division two winners who shared more than $2.7 million, receiving $77,385.90 each. There were also 5,558,090 winners in divisions two to nine who collected $100,574,184.70 in prizes.

Western Australian lottery operator Lotterywest will be liaising with the Western Australian with the division one winning entry from last night’s draw.

There have now been three Powerball division one winning entries across Australia so far in 2022 that have scored more than $200 million.

The winning numbers in Powerball draw 1345 on Thursday 24 February 2022 were 6, 15, 9, 27, 32, 28, 33. The all-important Powerball number was 8.

The Lott’s division one winning tally has now reached 294 so far this financial year, including 97 won by NSW Lotteries customers.

In 2021, 14 Powerball division one winners across Australia pocketed more than $550.1 million in prize money.

During this time, Powerball offered an $80 million jackpot three times – the biggest prize offered by any Australian lottery game during the year.

Of the 14 Powerball division one winning entries in 2021, seven landed in New South Wales, four in Queensland, two in Victoria and one in Western Australia.

More chances to win

There are more chances to win big with a boosted $10 million division one prize pool in this weekend’s Saturday Lotto and Tuesday’s Oz Lotto offering $5 million.

Tonight’s Set for Life draw offers players the chance to win a division one prize of $20,000 a month for 20 years – that’s $20K on Replay! Set for Life is the only game that allows you to play your numbers across seven consecutive daily draws – meaning you have the chance to win $20K on Replay every day of the week.

The Lucky Lotteries Mega Jackpot prize is now $7.49 million for draw 1562, while the Lucky Lotteries Super Jackpot prize is now $7.92 million for draw 10532.

Tickets can be purchased at any licenced lottery outlet, online from thelott.com or via The Lott mobile app.

The official home of Australia’s lotteries, The Lott operates and markets Australia’s leading lottery games customers know and love creating everyday winners, winning every day.

In 2021, more than 130.8 million winners took home more than $3.79 billion in prize money from their favourite games at The Lott, including Saturday Lotto, Monday & Wednesday Lotto, Powerball, Oz Lotto, Set for Life, Lucky Lotteries, Keno, Super 66, Lotto Strike and Instant Scratch-Its.

Last financial year, Australia’s official lotteries contributed more than $1.5 billion via state lottery taxes and donations to help community initiatives, such as hospitals, health research, disaster relief and education.

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

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