The year long inquiry has ended, the 168 page report from Federal parliament was released yesterday and in summary nothing has changed! Very disappointing outcome!
Australia will maintain the illegal status quo of vaping nicotine therefore continuing to criminalise vapers for choosing a less harmful alternative to smoking. Why should we have to break the law when all we are trying to do is improve our health and not return to the stinky habit!
How can this be? The committee have clearly ignored evidence from Public Health England, UK Royal College of Physicians and the FDA. How can these ministers stand by and allow people to continue to die from smoking, in the past 2 years alone 34,000 lives were lost due to smoking related illnesses…. enough is enough!
The committee claims that they don’t know enough about vaping to make a ruling…. ummmm how about taking a leaf out of England, US and NZ books? They have already done all the work, this is a blatant stalling technique from our government! How about the full committee attend all of the inquiry hearings that took place over the last year so all they are well informed. How about listen to the vaping community, nationwide there was 330+ submissions from all walks of life, mainly personal stories of how vaping has improved their health but also heard from international scientists, harm reduction experts, doctors and public health figures, why are they not listening?
3 committee members provided strong dissenting reports for vaping to be legalised, a highlight was MP Andrew Laming …. “Life is short and shorter for smokers. Just legalise vaping”. Chairman MP Trent Zimmerman told the inquiry “2.4 million Australians smoke daily and it is estimated that 2 out of 3 will die prematurely due to their smoking.”
Summary of Committee recommendations :-
- National Health and Medical Research Council fund an independent and comprehensive review of electronic cigarettes evidence, topics such as effectiveness, ingredients, likelihood of increased youth using nicotine, long term health impacts, relative health impacts compared to tobacco products.
2. National approach to regulation of non nicotine electronic cigarettes.
3. TGA continues to oversee the classification of nicotine and assess electronic cigarettes as therapeutic good – what a joke! Check out the current scheduling fiasco.
Cigarettes – legal for over 18’s – no prescription required
Nicotine Gum – legal for all including minors – no prescription required
Nicotine Patch – legal for all including minors – no prescription required
Nicotine Spray – legal for all including minors – no prescription required
Nicotine ELiquid – illegal for all unless prescription
4. Establish a regulatory process and if necessary restrict colourings and flavourings.
It seems all of the above would be in vain because Federal Minister Greg Hunt made the bold statement “NOT ON MY WATCH” declaring he will not lift the ban on e-cigarettes while in office, but he is willing to stand by and allow Australians to die from legal tobacco? This is ludicrous!!! Why has the committee discounted the findings from the UK study finding e-cigarettes 95 per cent less harmful? Public Health England commissioned the review of evidence and since have helped 20,000+ smokers to quit tobacco.
Senator Leyonhjelm has issued a press release stating that unless Greg Hunt reverses the ban, smokers will die and his cross benchers will not back any of Hunt’s policies unless change is made.
Dr Wodak from St Vincent Hospital Alcohol and Drug Service in Sydney reported smoking rates weren’t falling in Australia, clearly tobacco taxes and plain packaging are not enough. Interestingly in Britain where nicotine vaping is legalised smoking rates are declining.
Dr Mendelson from Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association believes Australia has missed the golden opportunity to bring us into line with most other developed countries and save over 500,000 Australian lives by legalising an effective substitute. “Vaping has helped millions of smokers to quit who were unable to do so with conventional methods”.
With all evidence submitted it was revealed both AMA and Department of Health remain totally opposed to nicotine vaping as they believe there is evidence that e-cigarettes are harmful – they are clearly not looking at all the facts! I have lost count of how many stories I have heard of Doctors recommending to their patients to give vaping a go and as a result improved their patients health. AMA and Department Health need to take off their blinkers and look at the big picture – harm reduction! If e-cigarettes are so harmful then why are peoples’ blood pressure decreasing and their respiratory health improving once they switch to vaping?
In conclusion, the irony of the situation is we as vapers are forced to continue to source our nicotine illegally when cigarettes can legally be bought at the supermarket. There is no evidence to say nicotine vaping is 100% safe but surely 95% safer is a step in the right direction.
– by Donna S