The greatest irony is that actual cigarettes are fully regulated and available, while their proven safer alternatives are restricted to the point of being inaccessible.
The UK’s tobacco control approach has always been progressive. Local authorities have taken science based decisions and embraced tobacco harm reduction strategies, such as endorsing the use of safer alternatives such as vaping products. This has led to the county’s smoking rates dropping twice as fast as the ones across the rest of Europe, and the country boasting the lowest smoking rates ever recorded locally. To this effect, the WVA (World Vapers Alliance) has recently named the UK as one of the tobacco harm reduction champions in the Tobacco Harm Reduction Policy Primer.

On the other hand, Australia’s smoking cessation rates have dropped. Many tobacco harm reduction experts have urged Australian authorities to relax vape laws so that the devices are available for smokers wishing to use them to quit. However local regulators do not want to hear it and remain arrogantly adamant that their chosen strategy is the correct one. Meanwhile, youngsters have turned to the back market to purchase vapes.

Last week, the UK announced that one million smokers will be given free vape kits to encourage them to give up combustible tobacco products, while pregnant women will also be offered up to £400 to stop smoking as part of the campaign. Health minister O’Brien said that the “swap to stop” free vape policy is the first of its kind. He said that policies will focus on “helping people to quit” rather than imposing bans. In fact, a Norfolk pilot distributing vape vouchers to smokers, resulted in four in 10 people quitting within a month.

In response to this news, Australia Health Minister Mark Butler arrogantly said that there is no chance they will follow a “swap to stop” policy. Despite the scientific data indicating their benefit to public health, Butler called vaping a “public health menace.” Interestingly he added that “the tobacco industry has found a new way to develop a generation of nicotine addicts, and we will not stand for it.” This is ironic given that actual cigarettes are fully regulated and available, while it is their proven safer alternatives which are restricted to the point of being inaccessible.

Australian regulators have their head firmly stuck in the sand

Discussing this tragic state of affairs, tobacco treatment specialist Dr. Colin Mendelsohn has recently published a blog addressing Mark Butler’s Misinformation. Titled, “Why is Australia’s Health Minister misinformed about vaping?” the blog reveals that the health minister’s advisors seem to be a small group of “ideologically-driven tobacco control academics and health bureaucrats with extreme anti-vaping views.”

Mendelsohn added that sadly not only does Butler fail to acknowledge the effectivity of vapes for smoking cessation, but he is also inaccurately convinced that these products are nothing but a “tobacco industry ploy” to get a new generation addicted to nicotine. In a recent communication with the smoking cessation expert discussing this sad state of affairs, Mendelsohn explained that local health authorities and political parties are set on defending their stance even if it is failing. “There has been some interest from individual politicians,” he added, “and we are working with them.”

Is there a tiny glimmer of hope?

Opposition leader David Littleproud has recently emphasized the importance that vape laws are relaxed and the products regulated in order to protect both adults and minors. In fact, the Nationals leader has recently said that despite existing measures, vaping in schools is on the increase and which clearly indicates that former health minister Greg Hunt’s prescription model has failed. Interestingly, the TGA has also recently admitted that the current tobacco control plan in place is not working, yet it insists of enforcing it further.

Australian Political Party Announces Plan to Legalise Vapes

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get news and current headlines about vaping every Friday.