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.

Australian lawmakers keep repeating the same tired arguments about the infamous Gateway Theory, despite the fact that this has been disproved by numerous studies.
Last July, Australian doctors addressed the federal parliamentary committee pointing out that smokers should have access to vaping products that would give them the nicotine hit that they are addicted to, without the other harmful components contained in cigarette smoke. Amongst these doctors was renowned tobacco treatment specialist Colin Mendelsohn, an anti-smoking activist who works hard at helping smokers curb their habit. “The reality is that many smokers are unable or unwilling to quit. We can’t just sacrifice them,” he told the committee at the time.


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

Smoking rates in Australia keep increasing, while in the UK where e-cigarettes have been endorsed for smoking cessation, smoking rates have reached record lows.
In the meantime smoking rates in Australia keep increasing, with a surge of over 21,000 between 2013 and 2016. “For the first time ever, there has been no statistically significant reduction in the smoking rate, and an increase in the number of smokers in Australia,” pointed out Mendelsohn. “This is despite plain packaging and the most expensive cigarette prices in the world.”


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.

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In-house journalist covering international vaping news.