Compiled by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the 2019 data was gathered from about 20,000 people aged 14 and above. The survey found that for the first time, 20% of respondents supported regular cannabis use, compared to 15% who support tobacco use. Moreover, 85% of Australians supported stricter regulations against sales to minors and about 7 in 10 thought the use of vapes in public places should be restricted.
A misinformed nation
Meanwhile, a recently released statement by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) sadly contains multiple false claims about vaping, including that it is not an effective quit-smoking tool, and also that it is actually a gateway to smoking. “This latest government document on vaping makes outrageously false claims and will only cost more Australian smokers their lives,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Co-ordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates).
Sadly adds Loucas, the claims in the document can be easily debunked. “Ridiculously, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer considers vaping the next biggest health issue after COVID-19. Has he ever heard of smoking which kills over 20,000 Australians every year? This 18-page document is a complete joke. It is full of statements that can be easily debunked by international science and human evidence the world over.”
She explained that tobacco harm reduction experts all over the country were hoping that the new government would finally take a progressive stance. “We held huge hope that the new Labor Government might take a more progressive approach to safer nicotine products. The previous Liberal Government spent nearly a decade making it harder for Australian smokers to quit by effectively banning the best smoking cessation tool. Sadly, it appears nothing is going to change, meaning Australia’s stubborn smoking rate won’t be budging anytime soon.”