Tasmania is an island off the coast of mainland Australia holding a population of 517,000, 21% of which are smokers according to data compiled by an Australian Health survey back in 2011. This figure is worrying for Tasmanian Health Officials as it shows that the island holds the highest smoking rate amongst all Australian states, as opposed to the 18% current national rate.
More data showing why e-cigs should be endorsed
A recent study carried out by an Australasian Association of Convenience Stores which surveyed 400 Tasmanian smokers, found that a third of the study subjects had tried e-cigarettes and that approximately three quarters were aware of the fact that these devices are nicotine free. The most significant finding was that half of the smokers surveyed said that they would minimize the amount of cigarettes they smoke, or even better quit smoking altogether, if only nicotine containing vaporizers were legalized and available.
Unfortunately, Health Minister of Tasmania Michael Ferguson, said that there are no immediate plans to legalise nicotine containing e-cigarettes, whilst AACS chief executive Jeff Rogut pointed out, “If e-cigarettes have the potential to assist even a proportion of smokers to reduce or quit smoking tobacco, then we need to give these products a chance to help Australians.”
Experts hoping that TGA will decide in favour of Nicotine
Many health experts in mainland Australia have written to Therapeutics Goods Administration asking to legalize lower concentrations of nicotine, by removing the substance from the list of dangerous poisons found in the Poisons Standard, the national medicines and poisons register. The TGA’s Advisory Committee will be meeting to review the above and announce its final decision on the matter in November 2016. A decision in favour of Nicotine would mean a lot for the vaping industry in Australia, but most importantly for public health. As we have observed above many of those who would have access to the proven effective smoking cessation devices, would choose to switch to the safer alternatives, with the intention of quitting deadly tobacco cigarettes.