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.
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“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.”
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.
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.