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In an article published on News.Com last week, the Australian celebrity said that after smoking for 25 years and feeling torn between his addiction to smoking and wanting to quit and be healthy, he finally found the happy medium he had been hoping for, a cigarette that doesn’t kill you. The downfall ? Vaping is illegal on the continent.

“Because here is the thing that will make your blood boil and your lungs burst: In Australia you can walk into any corner store or supermarket and buy a product that will in all probability kill you.” said Hildebrand, adding “And yet it is illegal to purchase a product specifically designed to save you from that death.”

A story that is contributing to a change in perspective

When he went public about quitting with the help of electronic cigarettes, he received a message from Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn from the School of Public Health at the University of NSW saying “Congratulations.You’ve just added almost 10 years to your life.” However Mendelsohn also added “You’re also now a criminal.”

“Because here is the thing that will make your blood boil and your lungs burst: In Australia you can walk into any corner store or supermarket and buy a product that will in all probability kill you. And yet it is illegal to purchase a product specifically designed to save you from that death.” Joe Hildebrand, Australian tv and media personality

The Australian personality pointed out that if the vaping industry thinks that the US has confusing regulations, they should see the ones in Australia. In some states it is legal to buy e-cigarettes but illegal to buy nicotine, in others it is illegal to buy e-cigarettes, legal to use them but illegal to buy nicotine, although legal to import it.. and the list goes on. Additionally he said, even just writing about his success in quitting with the help of vaping products is considered illegal.

Hildebrand pointed out that even just writing about his success in quitting with the help of vaping product, is considered illegal.
In an article published earlier this week on Nicotine Science and Policy, board member at the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) in Australia, Dr. Attila Danko, said that Hildebrand’s powerful story made a lot of noise and was even retweeted by countless other media personalities, politicians and opinion leaders. In Danko’s opinion this story is helping to change the perspective of the Australian public about vaping and also the way it is addressed in the media.

Last August, the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), the non profit organization that supports tobacco harm reduction strategies, was amongst those who submitted proposals to the TGA to remove nicotine concentrations of below 3.6% from the Poisons Standard. However in an interim agreement which took place over a week ago, the regulator said that the current ban on nicotine will remain in place.

A paradigm shift has taken place

However Dr. Attila Danko is now more hopeful.  He thinks that thanks to Joe Hildebrand’s highly publicised story, in addition to all the work the NNA has been carrying out to educate about the opportunity that vaping products hold for harm reduction, a paradigm shift has occurred which the NNA will be able to use to build the political support needed to change the legislation. He pointed out that the groundwork has been done, and believes that ultimately this battle in favour of vaping, hence public health, will be won.

  • Annette H

    Dr Danko is spot on. Because I shared Joe’s story on my facebook page some people I know were actually interested and sympathetic. They’ve never commented on my posts about vaping before. To be honest since the NNA Au have been on the scene we have had a lot of really positive vaping stories. Before they started I can’t remember one. I believe the tide of public opinion is turning and we will get nicotine legalized eventually.