E-Cigarettes Still Banned In Australia Despite Support From Some MPs

To vape, or not to vape. Even after a year-long inquiry, Australia¡¯s parliament can¡¯t decide.

The parliamentary committee charged with reviewing the nation¡¯s e-cigarette laws, which bans personal vaping devices and the nicotine liquid which accompanies it, remains split.

The official report called for further inquiry, recommending the National Health and Medical Council fund an independent review of the available evidence of the health impacts of vaping, and e-cigarette liquids, as well as a review of the regulations around the world.

But the committee¡¯s chair, Trent Zimmerman, wrote a dissenting report with his Liberal party colleague Tim Wilson.

¡°The committee has been presented with starkly conflicting views during this inquiry and I respect those committee members who have formed different judgements to my own,¡± Zimmerman wrote.

¡°I do, however, strongly disagree with the conclusions reached by the majority of my colleagues.

¡°¡­ While the evidence base regarding e-cigarettes is still emerging, there are clear indications that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to human health than smoking tobacco cigarettes. If long-term smokers who have been unable to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes switch to e-cigarettes, thousands of lives could be saved.¡±

 In the polarising debate about vaping, we've forgotten to ask the right questions¡¡Alex Wodak

¡°Life is short and shorter for smokers. Just legalise vaping,¡± he wrote in his two-sentence official report, believed to be one of the shortest in parliamentary history.

Liquid nicotine is classified as a poison in Australia and is banned, meaning it and nicotine e-cigarettes cannot be legally sold.

The committee heard from the medical community and big tobacco during its 12-month inquiry, where often contradictory evidence was presented about the benefits of vaping over smoking as a quit aid.

Although there was evidence to point to e-cigarettes as being better in a health sense than traditional cigarettes, concerns were raised over long-term effects and the possibility that younger people,

who have been turning away from cigarettes, could be attracted to vaping and become nicotine-dependent.

It was those concerns which led to the official recommendations for more information before a final decision was made.

The committee¡¯s deputy chair, Steve Georganas, was one of the members particularly concerned by the influence of tobacco companies in the sphere, writing that their inclusion ¡°gave big tobacco an appalling opportunity to influence tobacco policy in Australia¡±.

¡°This appears to have violated the World Health Organisation framework convention on tobacco control by inviting the tobacco industry to submit and testify to the committee,¡± he wrote.

¡°This alarmed some of the committee members and experts such as the Australian Medical Association who also testified, and should alarm the government.

¡°Governments should continue to follow the advice of the independent experts on nicotine e-cigarettes.¡±  Enditem

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