Without any community consultation, the Victorian Government is set to enact the Tobacco Amendment Bill which will regulate e-cigarettes the same way as tobacco products. The proposed amendments are detailed here: Tough New Regulations To Protect Kids From E-Cigarettes
The following statement from the NNA (AU) has been sent to all Victorian Parliamentarians in response to the excessive new regulations:
“To the Honourable Member,
Victorian Government Tobacco Amendment Bill requires consultation, amendment and balance.
The New Nicotine Alliance (AU) is a group formed by Australian consumers of reduced risk nicotine products such as electronic cigarettes and receives no funding from the tobacco, pharmaceutical or e-cigarette industries.
We read with interest the State Government’s intention to regulate e-cigarettes in the same way as cigarettes. We are concerned that the Bill has been introduced with little consultation and that the Government only sees the risks with this disruptive technology and not the opportunities.
The immense harm of tobacco smoking comes from the inhalation of smoke, not from the nicotine. The Royal College of Physicians UK recently released a report urging smokers who can’t quit any other way to switch to these products, being at least 95% safer than smoking. The concerns about youth uptake and being a gateway to smoking were found to be groundless.
Recent data from ASH UK, the leading anti-smoking public health group, demonstrate large population benefits of reduced smoking in the UK from a “light touch” regulatory framework on e-cigarettes, with 2.8 million regular users, 1.3 million of whom have given up smoking entirely, with huge benefits to their health. There are also 720,000 ex-smokers who used vaping to quit and no longer vape either. Regular use amongst children continues to be extremely rare.
The Tobacco Amendment Bill to be introduced to Victorian Parliament unduly restricts one of the gateways out of smoking. By treating the new, far safer technology in the same way as the old dangerous cigarettes, it stops the uptake of this disruptive technology which could make smoking obsolete with huge public health benefits.
We have no issue with restricting sales to over 18 only, and increased restrictions on smoking, but many of the other provisions that relate to e-cigarettes constitute over-regulation, with potential harms and unintended consequences.
Putting the same restrictions on e-cigarettes as smoking sends a clear message that you may as well just stick with smoking. Given that not one e-cigarette sold in Australia comes from a tobacco company, the Tobacco Industry is likely to be celebrating this news.
We represent people who could not give up smoking any other way except by using e-cigarettes, for us they are literally a life-saving technology.
It is concerning that, unlike all the other State Governments who have proposed similar legislation, this was produced without any warning and without any consultation. We call for all sides of the debate to be heard, including other Australian Public Health experts who see the potential for tobacco harm reduction, and especially consumers, going by the principle, “nothing about us without us.”
The Tobacco Amendment Bill can help reduce the scourge of smoking, but only if it is amended with further consultation and a Parliamentary Inquiry in light of the growing evidence of the benefits of proportionate e-cigarette regulation. The health of Victorians deserves nothing less.
We understand that many parliamentarians have never met with a vaper before, nor have they seen the devices that are used by Australian Vapers which are quite different from those that are sold by Tobacco Companies. We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to contact us and we would be happy to meet with you at your convenience.
Dr Attila Danko B Med (Newcastle), FRACGP
New Nicotine Alliance (AU)
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