Australian Poll: Most Adults Want E-Cigarettes Legalised

As the Australian government maintains its harsh stance towards e-cigarettes, a local poll indicates that more than half of Australian adults want the ban on the devices lifted.

In Australia e-cigarette devices are legal, but the use of nicotine-containing refills is not. In August 2016, several public health activists, amongst which the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), had submitted proposals to local regulator Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), to remove nicotine concentrations of below 3.6% from the Poisons Standard. However, in February 2017, the TGA rejected the application and upheld the nicotine ban.

“The TGA is essentially saying to the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have already quit smoking by using e-cigarettes: You quit the wrong way. We are not going to let you do this. But you can go and buy a pack of smokes, no problem.” said Dr. Attila Danko from NNA AU, at the time. In order to be able to purchase nicotine-containing e-liquids, Australian smokers who wish to switch need to first obtain prescription from a doctor, and then find a pharmacy that actually sells the liquids. However ironically, buying a packet of deadly cigarettes that are about 95% more harmful than e-cigarettes, is very easily done over the counter.

The Australian government urged to change strategy.

Not surprisingly, a recent survey indicated that the majority of the public is unhappy with the current situation. The Australian Retail Association poll, conducted by the Crosby Textor Group, indicated that 61% of the 1200 adults surveyed, are in favour of legalizing the devices. The ARA’s executive director Russell Zimmerman, is urging the government to follow the lead of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand and revise the current regulations.

“More and more Australians are buying personal vaporisers with nicotine online from overseas, simply because they can’t buy them locally,” said Mr Zimmerman in a statement on Monday. “The government needs to act so that responsible local retailers can compete on a level playing field and sell less harmful products for Australians trying to change their habits.”

E-cigs deliver nicotine minus harmful chemicals like tar

In the meantime, local health professionals, have long been pointing out the benefits that smokers in Australia could avail from if e-cigs were endorsed for smoking cessation. In fact, last July, Australian doctors, including renowned professor Dr. Colin Mendelsohn, addressed the federal parliamentary committee pointing out that smokers should have access to vaping products that would give them the nicotine hit that they are addicted to, without the other harmful components contained in cigarette smoke. “The reality is that many smokers are unable or unwilling to quit. We can’t just sacrifice them,” said Mendelsohn.

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