The Senator is rightly pointing out that the government’s stance contrasts with the evidence in favour of the products for harm reduction. “The Government’s position is illogical,” said Senator Bernardi. “Vaping is a much safer way for people to satisfy their nicotine addiction and cravings.”
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.
Accepting certain studies whilst ignoring others, on what grounds?
A number of Australian and International Health experts, have been repeatedly speaking up about the benefits smokers in Australia could avail from, if e-cigs were endorsed for smoking cessation and harm reduction.
However, local lawmakers keep repeating the same tired arguments about the infamous Gateway Theory, despite the fact that this has been disproved by numerous studies. “The overwhelming medical advice and evidence is that it’s likely to lead to the uptake of smoking and we cannot support that,” said a spokesman for Health Minister Greg Hunt, adding “We will continue to follow the advice of the medical authorities.”
The correlation between an increase in vaping and a decrease in smoking
In contrast, data from the US and the UK clearly indicates that since the advent of e-cigarettes, smoking rates have been steadily on the decline. In fact, the UK which fully endorses the products for smoking cessation, is now boasting the lowest smoking rates ever recorded since the 70’s, and the second lowest rates in Europe.
Read Further: News.com.au