Last August, the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), who is a 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. This would allow vapers to use e-cigarettes legally rather than being criminalised for quitting smoking “the wrong way”. Additionally, many researchers and academics had stepped forward to back up the NNA’s appeal, amongst whom top Cancer Council researcher Ron Borland.
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Nicotine considered a poison, even in small amounts
Sadly for those wishing to turn to vaping in a bid to quit smoking, in an interim agreement last Thursday, a regulator said that the current ban on nicotine will be left as is. Amongst the arguments to support the decision was the claim that lifting the ban could renormalise smoking and affect tobacco control in a negative manner.
On the other hand doctors are speaking up and pointing out that this current ban will serve only to perpetuate the current health crises brought about by smoking. “There will be more potentially preventable deaths and diseases,” said Dr. Alex Wodak, president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, adding, “Surely any of us would want to see a heavy-smoking loved one switch from smoking to e-cigarettes and reduce their risk and maybe quit.”
An article published earlier today on nine news website said that the TGA also said that the nicotine containing devices would be promoting a nicotine dependence, claiming that evidence in the US suggests that the products may act as a gateway to smoking in young adults. Regrettably, this is a theory that has been disproved over and over, and is a clear example of how detrimental spreading of wrong information can be.
“The TGA is essentially saying to the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have already quit smoking by using e-cigarettes: You quit the wrong way. We are not going to let you do this’.” said Dr. Attila Danko, president of the NNA, adding “But you can go and buy a pack of smokes, no problem.”
Victoria’s Senator thinks Parliament should step in
Victoria’s Senator James Paterson said that parliament should take over and legalise the harm reduction products, saying “Public health in Australia could be measurably improved if smokers were able to switch to e-cigarettes, as they are in many other similar countries.”