Advocacy’s success lies in numbers too
Whilst other forms of tobacco harm reduction have proven their efficacy, in particular, Snus, vaping, or the use of electronic cigarettes has been growing at an exponential rate.
As with Snus, nicotine-based e-liquids are illegal to sell domestically, suffering the same illogical, and yes, detrimental policy. Nicotine must be imported, and in accordance with regulations set by The Therapeutic Goods Administration, or TGA, a prescription is necessary to comply with current laws.
One can import liquid nicotine, or e-liquids with nicotine legally, but it is unlawful to take possession without a script.
Australian Government's position on THR could be viewed as being anti-health
There are additional regulatory measures imposed on vaping, and this is due at least in part, to vaping components and accessories being classified as tobacco products. Some, although few, are fair and just, such as a ban on vaping in restaurants, and the sale of goods to minors.
Other measures are quite simply absurd –
- Vape shops are not permitted to openly display products
- Free samples-testing of e-liquid flavours is not permitted (See below)
- All sales must be made from a single point of sale
- Staff are not permitted to make claims on efficacy, or that it will help you quit smoking
- In Western Australia, the sale of e-Cigarettes is illegal
It’s beyond comprehension that personal responsibility appears to have been removed from the equation. A smoker who may be desperate to quit, needs to find an e-liquid flavour that satisfies. This is necessary in order to successfully transition away from smoking.
Many see these measures as Government overreach, at the very least, counterproductive, and there’s no denying the unintended consequences. For many, especially the elderly and or those that suffer various disabilities, transitioning from smoking has proven to be a problematic exercise; many I’ve spoken to tell me “there are just too many hoops to jump through“.
Regulations appear on the Health NSW Gov website.
If the Government’s intention is simply to protect the billions it collects each year from the sale of tobacco, that would be a perversion of morality.
I find it incomprehensible that our Government refuses to accept the empirical evidence, that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. Moreover, I feel that more is done to disparage vaping than smoking. How is this possible?
Taking it to the streets
I’ve found that the majority of vapers tend to be rather passionate about the subject, and who could blame them? Finding a means to quit smoking is something worth singing about. However, rallies alone, whilst necessary, are only part of the equation.
Advocacy vs. Regulation
Organisations such as the NNA, ATHRA and Legalise Vaping have been working with governments to protect the rights of smokers and vapers, as well as endorsing and promoting the benefits of tobacco harm reduction. Numerous professionals from the medical, science, legal and public sector are on board as well.
But advocacy has another tool up their sleeve.
Vapers are making a difference too
It’s entirely possible that vapers will ultimately contribute more to public health than traditional replacement therapies; nicotine patches, gums and even medications. Here’s a closer look at how NRT’s compare to vaping.
There are numerous vapers out there spending time with smokers. It’s an opportunity to discuss their passion, but moreover, to educate and provide assistance with transitioning from smoking. And who better to do so than one who can share their experiences.
Advocacy organisations, industry, media (although few and far between), vapers and bloggers, are the collective that will ultimately prevail. There’s no denying that there’s a powerful opposing force, but one must put aside any pessimism, and have faith that common sense will ultimately be the victor.