Australian Government Refuses to Legalize E-Liquids With Nicotine
Nope not a good day at all as the Australian government decides it will remain illegal to vape e-liquid containing nicotine.
To be honest I’m lost for words – which is unusual – however this is most definitely no laughing matter.
As the new Nicotine Alliance Australia say on their Facebook page this is surely sentencing thousands of Australian smokers to a long lingering death:
Alarming comments from ALP members of the Committee that rejected the Vapourised Nicotine Products Bill to legalise nicotine for vaping. 15,000 Australians still die from smoking related disease – yet they want to keep banning the 95% safer alternative. They appear to have no clue at all. It would be the same as if they banned solar energy because we need tighter energy regulation to reduce pollution.
Yesterday and despite heavy pressure from health professionals – politicians and the vaping community the Australian Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee rejected the legalization of nicotine in e-liquids.
In their collective wisdom – pun intended – they decided that:
…the Senate does not pass the Bill until further scientific evaluation of the efficacy and safety of e-cigarettes and related products has been undertaken.
*Shakes head in disbelief*
It was only in last weeks vaping news I reported that New Zealand after allowing nic in e-liquids is now preparing the worlds largest ever study into e-cigs – talk about polar opposites.
And as I reported in the piece Let the People Vape Australia a once brave and forward thinking risk taking country is fast becoming the ‘nanny capital’ of the bloody world.
Reaction to the Decision
There’s been limited reaction to the news – I guess they’re all shell shocked – however the excellent Dr Colin Mendelsohn – who campaigned vigorously to get nicotine infused e-liquids legalized has written a fantastic blog post.
The result is disappointing, but not unexpected given that all government health departments, the TGA (Therapeutics Goods Administration), the National Health and Medical Research Council, public health organisations (Cancer Council, Heart Foundation, Public Health Association) and all medical organisations (such as the AMA, the Royal Australian College of Physicians, the Thoracic Society are opposed (except the RANZCP).
Furthermore, accepting tobacco harm reduction is a big shift in Australia and the abstinence-only traditionalists will take time to get use to the new paradigm.
The committee received conflicting evidence on the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes, which made it difficult to see a clear path forwards at this stage. Apart from safety concern, opponents raised the usual arguments such as the risk of uptake by young people, the renormalisation of smoking, child poisoning, the risk to bystander, doubts about effectiveness and the risk of high concentrations of nicotine to users.
However once again there may be a chink of light for our Aussie vaping mates as once again the dithering [or fannying around as I called it recently ] of the Australian Government has agreed to have another look at the issue when and if new scientific evidence of e-cig safety comes to light.
OK now that’s another head shake as well as one of my infamous face palm bang head on desk moments.
Are the Australian Government going to sit back and let others do the research?
What the hell happened to a country that is renowned for trailblazing and adventure?
Are they going to stand up and be counted by conducting their own research or ride piggy back on others that suit their agendas?
And what about the already deep and detailed studies that show vaping is indeed 95% safer than smoking?
It’s Still Not Over!
Dr Mendlesohn is optimistic:
The good news is that the committee left the door open for review when further scientific evidence is available. Scientific research and overseas experience is rapidly accumulating and continues to point to a positive impact from vaping on overall public health,
I am confident that further evidence of safety and effectiveness will be demonstrated in the not too distant future and will meet the federal government’s requirements for changing the legislation.
In any case, the fact that there was an Inquiry is a big win for vaping supporters. A parliamentary inquiry would have been unimaginable a year or two ago and is a strong signal of a change in momentum in this important debate. Support is growing in a number of organisations. E-cigarettes are now on the agenda.
I hope he’s right because as I reported in the review on the vape documentary A Billion Lives – not only is the Australian Government sentencing the country’s smokers to long painful lingering deaths – as in the case of the Vince the Aussie guy featured in the film – they’re sentencing them to jail too.
The Australian Government should hang their heads in shame.