An article on The Northern Star, pointed out that the legislation, the Smoke-free Environment Amendment (E-cigarettes) Bill 2017, was introduced following a call for action by about 25 professional bodies and health organisations, amongst which the Heart Foundation, Cancer Council NSW, AMA NSW, Asthma Australia and the Australian Dental Association. If implemented the ban would carry penalties of up to $550.
However, despite the harsh stance that Australia is known to have towards e-cigarettes, the State Government rejected the proposed amendments, therefore e-cigarettes will not be subject to regulations imposed on regular cigarettes whether they contain nicotine or not.
In response to this decision Mr Secord said that since amongst other things the legislation had broad community support, he had hoped it would go through. “E-cigarettes should not be allowed indoors and in other venues where smoking is restricted like shopping centres. This plugs a strange and inconsistent loophole and brings e-cigarettes into line with cigarettes, which makes sense,” he said.
“While there is still debate on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes and whether they are a gateway to smoking or they move people away from smoking, they should at least have the same restrictions as cigarettes – especially in regard to smoke-free areas,” he added.
The unreasonable local nicotine ban
In Australia e-cigarette devices are legal, but the use of nicotine-containing refills is not. In August 2016, several public health activists, amongst which the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), had submitted proposals to local regulator Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), to remove nicotine concentrations of below 3.6% from the Poisons Standard.
However, in February 2017, the TGA rejected the application and upheld the nicotine ban. “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. But you can go and buy a pack of smokes, no problem.” said Dr. Attila Danko from NNA AU, at the time.
Australia’s stance on vaping is detrimental to public health
Earlier this month, health professionals gathered at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs Conference in Melbourne. Queen Mary University professor Hayden McRobbie, gave a keynote speech in which he pointed out that the sooner Australia changes its stance on e-cigarettes, the more lives will be saved. “For those smokers who won’t or can’t quit, the next best thing would be to switch to vaping,” he said.
Read Further : The Northern Star