The explosion of vaping in schools that has finally triggered a response from the NSW Government is a result of backwards regulations that have fostered a black market and could have easily been avoided, Legalise Vaping Australia (LVA) said today.
While the funding of a $300,000 education campaign to support schools and students in managing the vaping problem in schools is a well-intentioned development, it is only necessary because of a black market that is now completely out of control and flooded with dodgy products.
“This is exactly what we have been warning about for years,” LVA campaign director Brian Marlow said. “Failing to follow the example of other sensible countries where vaping is well regulated like the UK or New Zealand has led to a massive black market that is now far beyond the ability of authorities to police.
“Everyone supports kids stopping or never starting vaping. But that doesn’t remove the need to help prevent some 600,000 vapers from relapsing and to help 2 million smokers quit.
“This could all have been avoided if Australia simply legalised vaping. Instead we have gone down a route of effective prohibition, led by the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, supported by unelected health bureaucrats and cheered on by doctors who don’t keep up with the science along with nanny-state boosters in the media who either haven’t checked their facts or are actively ignoring the evidence.
“The Therapeutic Goods Administration has had extensive presentations from researchers and doctors overseas on the benefits of vaping as a quitting tool and the research underpinning it, yet we continue to hear another story from bureaucrats and most doctors here in Australia. All of this seems designed to support an anti-vaping regime which is out of step with the rest of the world.
LVA advocates for commercial sale of regulated nicotine vaping products by responsible retailers, on production of age identification. Federal regulations have made it illegal to sell nicotine vaping products and vapers or smokers who want to use vaping as a quit aid must get a prescription from a licensed GP and then source their product from overseas.
“It’s a shame it has come to this,” Marlow said. “In the age of ‘following the science’ and ‘evidence-based policy’, it is astonishing that so many medical bureaucrats and media-hungry doctors are willing to perpetuate myths about vaping. The Cochrane Review, which is the gold standard in expert summaries of scientific evidence, is clear in its conclusion that vaping helps smokers to quit.
“Even today the Acting NSW Chief Health Officer is quoted as saying: ‘There’s a perception out there that e-cigarettes are either not harmful at all or less harmful than cigarettes, and that is not the case.’
“With respect to the Chief Health Officer, this is just not true. It absolutely is the case that vaping is less harmful than cigarettes. Public Health England says it is 95% safer and doctors in the UK and NZ actively encourage patients to switch from cigarettes to vaping.
“Australian research published just weeks ago showed that daily vapers were 100% more likely to be successful at quitting cigarettes than people who tried to quit without using a vape.
“Despite all this evidence, in Australia we regulate vaping far more strictly than cigarettes and we are now seeing the disastrous results.
“The black market means a lot of the products people are using have no standards around packaging, warnings, or ingredients. This is what is needed in a responsible retailing model.”
MyChoice Australia & the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance – 2022-03-14.