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“There’s another option called harm reduction that Australia hasn’t yet come to terms with in the same way as in the UK has.” said Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales, Dr. Colin Mendelsohn.

This study is published only a week after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), made its final decision to uphold the Nicotine ban, citing evidence that e-cigarette use caused nicotine addiction and could lead to teenagers becoming hooked on tobacco.

What public health advocates have been saying all along…proved

In countries such as the UK, where the regulations where milder, 73% smokers quit successfully, as opposed to 32% in Canada and Australia, where rules are stricter.
Last August, many public health activists, amongst which the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), submitted proposals to the TGA to remove nicotine concentrations of below 3.6% from the Poisons Standard. Their argument was that nicotine containing e-cigarettes hold a lot of potential if used for smoking cessation, and at best are excellent harm reduction tools. This latest data seems to prove that they were right!

 

The study which was published earlier this week in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, found that in countries such as the UK, where the regulations where milder, 73% smokers quit successfully, as opposed to 32% in Canada and Australia, where rules pertaining to the products are stricter.

The study authors suggested that this may be due to the fact that smokers from these countries had better access to the products, and that since the devices were not banned there would have been more variety and more innovative products, in addition to a supportive environment.

“There’s another option called harm reduction that Australia hasn’t yet come to terms with in the same way as in the UK has.” Dr Colin Mendelsohn, Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales

Mendelsohn, said that these findings are “absolutely what you would expect”. “In Australia, it’s hard to get [e-cigarette] supplies and support. It’s totally unregulated and it’s not incorporated into existing smoking cessation programs. There’s not that government support, it’s something that’s ‘forbidden’, and so people assume it’s more dangerous than it is.”

No nicotine for vaping, but smoking is fine

Mendelsohn added that the TGA’s decision to keep the ban on nicotine for e-cigarette use, goes against a substantial amount of evidence which shows that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. He pointed out that the TGA’s stance makes nonsensical, especially when bearing in mind that nicotine in “tobacco prepared and packed for smoking” is widely available across the country.