The Ongoing Fight To De-Criminalize Vaping In Australia
The Australian Government Is Sentencing Smokers To Death
There’s always been a gentle – OK fierce – rivalry between England and Australia whether it be cricket or rugby but what’s happening to Aussie vapers should mean we forget that and work as a team to quite simply ‘let them vape!’
As I’m sure many of you are now aware it’s illegal for anyone in Australia to vape on e-liquid that contains nicotine.
Those ‘caught’ face up to 2years in jail and up to $10k in fines – scandalous and shocking.
This despite all the latest studies – surveys and indeed science that says categorically vaping is ‘considerably’ safer than smoking.
However the Australian Government are refusing point blank to accept any of this – much like a baby kangaroo snuggles in its mother’s pouch to avoid things it doesn’t like or can’t face.
But – and this is a stain or a shame on those politicians – every day they delay on de-criminalizing nicotine based e-liquids whilst allowing killer lit tobacco products to be sold – they are sentencing many of their citizens to death.
In real terms the figure makes for seriously shocking reading with 40+ Australians dying of tobacco related illnesses EVERY SINGLE DAY.
What A Difference A Few Thousand Miles Makes
There’s really not a lot between us English and our Australian cousins – we’re very similar in many aspects but sadly when it comes to vaping we couldn’t be further apart.
Here in England we really can’t believe just how serious things are for vapers down under.
As I reported in this week’s Vaping News – a vaper from Australia had her vape gear confiscated and was literally threatened by Australian Health Officials they would report her to the police if they ever caught her vaping on the e-liquid she was using – because it contained nicotine.
I described that as almost ‘Gestapo like’ – a kind of secret society of snitches calling themselves the health police – and I may not have been harsh enough – so much for medical confidentiality!
The vaper in question – Lorraine from Queensland – told advocates from Legalize Vaping Australia she’d tried many ways to quit smoking and vaping was the only thing that had worked.
Now compare that to the story that appeared in the Bury Times – a local newspaper from here in the UK.
Mum of two 44-year-old Karen Lee had smoked for 25 years and similarly tried everything to kick the killer habit and like Lorraine the only thing that worked was vaping and e-cigarettes.
Karen had smoked since she was 16 and her daughter in particular was concerned the habit would end up killing her or at least making her life a lot shorter.
- Karen Lee – photo via the Bury Times
She made a pledge with her work colleague to swap the cigarettes for e-cigarettes during the regular smoking breaks they shared:
I started using an e-cigarette to help me stop smoking and I liked being able to choose the nicotine level. For me, e-cigarettes felt like an easier replacement for my habit.
It is great to be able to wake up without a hacking cough and to be able to breathe normally again and actually taste food after so many years of not being able to.
After her first vape Karen was able to quit smoking and says after just 6 weeks she was also able to quit vaping.
That’s certainly great news but what is night and day between the story from down under and this one from the north of England is not only the fact nicotine infused e-liquid is legal here – but none other than Cancer Research UK are using Karen’s story in their recent quit smoking and start vaping campaign!
I’m sure our Australian friends are scratching their heads at that bombshell – and rightly so.
Surely that shows the sheer stupidity the Australian Government is showing towards e-cigarettes and nicotine?
Maybe not because these buffoons have made it clear time and time again smokers looking to quit and looking to vape in Australia will be treated as criminals – FFS!
Just look at health minister Greg Hunt [perfect rhyming lol] and his puerile reaction to the question should vaping on nicotine be allowed:
It’s not going to be happening on my watch as far as I’m concerned
Countries That Ban Vaping Are Sentencing Smokers To Death
Let’s put my political hat on for a second – OK pull it on tighter lol – if ever you’re asked in a pub quiz who the biggest killers on the planet are reply Governments or better yet use the word Democide.
Governments kill and have killed more people over the centuries than anything or anyone else – and you can add those that are banning and criminalizing e-cigarettes to the already eye-watering list.
That’s 40 of their citizens every day the Australian Government is literally condemning to death and here’s me thinking the death penalty had been abolished.
There really does seem to be a groundswell of public opinion growing and growing fast on the government’s anti-vape stance and much of this is thanks to once again advocacy groups and in particular the Legalize Vaping Australia team.
They recently published some impressive social media impact results:
Remember these come from the first week of the month long pro-vaping tour and as it gathers steam expect those numbers to go crazy!
Good on them and I guess I can change ‘groundswell’ to tidal wave such is the call for change!
Here We Go…Again…It’s All About Protecting the Kids…
It seems one of the main reasons the Australian parliament is so anti e-cigarettes is because like many other ill-informed countries they believe vaping will somehow drag the children into becoming nicotine addicts that in turn become smokers.
Those of us that have bothered to look into this know it’s a myth and I’m sure [like me] you’re sick and tired of re-buffing the argument every time it comes up.
Leading Australian pro-vaping doctor and tobacco health expert Colin Mendhlesohn has worked tirelessly to convince the Aussie government they are wrong and vaping with nicotine should be legalized.
Late last year he was joined by our own e-cigarette advocacy aficionado Clive Bates and the pair were coined the Vaped Crusaders.
- Clive’s whistle-stop tour of the country meeting politicians – health officials and advocacy groups – received good media coverage and added to the wave of evidence the government is trying to stem.
Just this week Dr Mendhlesohn wrote an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia – the country’s ‘doctors portal’ – where he addressed this tired old ‘what about the poor kiddies angle’ which you’d hope would end this myth.
Under the title: Fears about adolescent vaping overstated – he said:
NOTHING has inflamed the e-cigarette debate like fears that vaping will entice young people to take up smoking.
This concern has led to calls for a very precautionary and restrictive approach to their use in Australia.
However, public policy on vaping should be based on a calm assessment of the best available evidence.
It should also take into account the overall public health impact of any regulatory decisions and the ethical issues involved.
Contrary to alarming claims, regular vaping by young people is rare and is almost exclusively confined to current or past smokers.
Nicely put once again sir – just wish they’d listen!
There you have it and once again the kids who are turning to vaping are the tiniest tiniest fraction of those that once smoked.
But still Governments around the world – particularly in Australia – are using this myth to ban and criminalize what is a life changing life saving alternative to smoking – shame on them.
Imagine The Scene…
If you’re reading this where vaping on nicotine infused e-liquid is legal then just think for a moment.
You’re puffing away on your 3mg favourite juice and suddenly your front door is smashed in.
In chargess the riot police and detectives in stab vests – your wife and kids start screaming – treasured items are smashed in the melee that ensues.
You’re handcuffed – read your rights and ALL your vaping gear is confiscated.
Locked in a a cell next to drug dealers – murderers – rapists and thieves you realize you’re looking at 2 years in jail and/or a fine that will bankrupt you.
Trying to stop smoking.
If you think that all sounds a little ‘over the top’ then don’t forget Vince the Australian vaper featured in the excellent vape documentary A Billion Lives.
His home was raided in exactly the same way and as he says on film:
Three black SUV’s with a search and seizure warrant…they bagged and tagged everything they could find related to e-cigarettes…it was like they thought I was some kind of Colombian drug cartel or something…someone’s got an agenda as it isn’t about us…don’t let the bastards win…
The Australian Government’s action on vaping is the only criminal thing going on here.
Legalise Vaping in Australia is backed by two extremely experienced advocacy groups and as you’ll see later they are organized – optimistic and ready for the battles ahead.
To set the scene a little – last summer the powerful Australian Medical Association [AMA] urged the Government to NOT legalise vaping with nicotine saying there was:
No evidence e-cigarettes stopped people smoking….
The AMA President – Dr. Michael Gannon went a step further saying:
Australia must not allow e-cigarettes to become a socially acceptable alternative to smoking.
Now that flies in the face of pretty much all the very latest scientific evidence but it seems to fall on deaf ears as far as the Australian ‘experts’ are concerned.
“Now Is The Time Australia”
Back in October Clive Bates – the UK’s very own ‘vaped crusader’ – paid a whistle stop tour of the country and held a series of talks and speeches with the great and the good culminating with a letter to the Government highlighting the effectiveness of e-cigs as a smoking cessation tool.
He ended his visit with a strong message to the Aussie anti vape brigade:
Come on, Australia… now’s the time. And many Australian health and medical professionals agree. See this October 2017 letter from 70 Australian experts calling for the National Health and Medical Research Council to develop evidence based guidelines. It is a powerful call to action and deserves to be heard.
- Now the fight to remove the Australian vaping ban has gone up a gear and is being led by the 50,000 strong [and growing] advocacy group Legalise Vaping In Australia.
Backed by a formidable and experienced duo of grassroots advocacy groups – they are campaigning hard – putting pressure on the Government and are hopeful of a breakthrough very soon.
Despite a few successes they are still very much in need of as much support they can get.
I spoke to one of the groups members Brian Marlow on their fight to Legalise Vaping in Australia and just like the guys in the Association of Vaper India – I was impressed with the groups professionalism and commitment to the cause.
You’re an arm of the MyChoice Australia & the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance who are they and why have they decided to fight the ban on vaping in Australia?
The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is a grassroots advocacy organisation dedicated to standing up for taxpayers against special interest groups, and supports the principles of lowering tax, regulation, and waste. MyChoice Australia is an autonomous affiliate of the ATA focussing on nanny state issues.
Why did you start Legalise Vaping in Australia?
The evidence is clear that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking and a proven way to help people quit and allow them to live a healthier lifestyle.
Legalising vaping in Australia has the potential to save over 500,000 lives and it is immoral for it to continue to be criminalised. In addition, we believe that adults should be free to choose whether or not they vape. There is growing evidence overseas that shows how beneficial it is to legalise vaping, so we will continue to campaign for it.
How many members do you have?
The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance has over 50,000 members nationally and active chapters in all of Australia’s major cities. In addition, over 5,000 people have used www.legalisevaping.com.au to contact their Member of Parliament and demand reform, and we aim sign up thousands more in the coming months when we launch our national campaign.
How are you funded?
The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is funded through thousands of individual small dollar donors who share our belief in a more free and more prosperous Australia, as well as some funding from businesses as well as other non-profits. We receive no financial donations from tobacco or related companies.
What campaigns are you conducting and how are you getting the message across?
We’re currently running online campaigns through social media to help gain momentum and sign up supporters. Once members sign up, they can send a message directly to their local parliamentarian asking them to consider the legalisation of vaping in Australia.
Early in the new year we will be launching a campaign bus to travel across key electorates in Australia and deliver the message to our politicians that many voters want to see vaping legalised immediately. You will be able to follow our campaign at www.legalisevaping.com.au
Have you met with the Australian Government or senior health organizations?
We have met with multiple parliamentarians, and attended public inquiries with senior health organisations in order to try and get our message across. We also submitted written testimony to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and Senate and House of Representatives Committees, as well as testified in person before the House of Representatives Inquiry into vaping.
Why do you think your government is so anti e-cigarettes?
Australian governments, both at a state and federal level, have a tendency to ban or restrict things first and ask questions later. Part of this is due to public health officials providing reports that only focus on one small aspect of a complex issue (such as the legalisation of vaping) without looking at many other factors that show the benefits of approving things vs banning them.
Do you think the government will change its mind?
Absolutely. It’s just a matter of time and we’re working hard to reduce that amount of time as much as possible.
How can vapers in Australia and around the world help?
By going to our website: www.legalisevaping.com.au and signing up to our campaign! They should also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.
If they do these three simple things, they can then follow us as we launch our national campaign and get involved.
Your message to the Australian government
Do the right thing, review the evidence with an open mind, and legalise vaping now before more people needlessly suffer
Your message to vapers in Australia
The only way to fully legalise vaping is to pressure your local MP to let him/her know that you vote and you vape. It may seem like an insurmountable obstacle to get a government to legalise something, but it’s been done countless times before and it can be done again with vaping.
I urge you to checkout the Legalise Vaping In Australia website and do what you can to overturn this ridiculous and life threatening ban.
The team have a ready to go ‘Have Your Say Now‘ letter which can be sent to your local MP.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – given what we know about e-cigs and vaping the continued criminalization of vaping with nicotine e-liquids in Australia is not only ridiculous but bordering on criminal.
Now really is the time Australia and let’s hope the following years see vaping welcomed.
I’d like to thank Brian for taking the time to talk with me.
“Let the People Vape” says Aussie Politician
The number of smokers down under has risen and the Australian Government needs to stop messing around and legalize nicotine for use in e-cigarettes or more people are going to die.
Latest reports show the number of Aussie smokers has risen to 2.4 million regular tobacco users making the national smoking rate higher than that of the USA.
The rise equates to 21,000 more people on the cancer sticks – the highest jump since the first anti-smoking campaigns were brought in AND the fact that plain packaging was introduced.
Not only that – Australia is believed to be one of the most expensive places on earth to buy cigarettes due to the excessive tax increases.
But it seems without a viable and proven harm reduction tool such as vaping and e-cigarettes beleaguered smokers are stuck in an expensive and life threatening habit.
So it beggars belief that nicotine for use in e-liquids is illegal in a country that says on its quit smoking Government Health website:
Don’t Make Smokes Your Story
How about ‘do make vapes part of your story?’ – oops me being ‘snippy again…
The website does list a whole host of ways to quit smoking but not one single mention of vaping or e-cigarettes – despite recent studies that show e-cigarettes that contain nicotine DO help people quit smoking successfully.
However there is an app and a ‘Quit Line’ and we know how successful they can be…[irony alert].
So why do I say the Australian Government needs to stop ‘fannying around’ deciding whether to legalize nicotine for use in e-cigs?
Back in June the Government decided to uphold the ban on nicotine but literally moments later announced a ‘review’ of their decision to ban it!
The Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie said at the time:
After consideration of the available scientific information and the extensive public submissions for nicotine, the TGA’s final decision on this application was there should be no change in regulations.
The effect of this final decision is that the commercial supply of nicotine for use in e-cigarettes will remain prohibited in Australia under state and territory legislation.
However and even before the announcement had been reported – MP Trent Zimmerman announced the news the decision was going to be looked at again:
The Inquiry will investigate the health impacts of e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers, as well as their marketing and use as an aid for people attempting to quit smoking. The Committee will also consider the appropriate regulatory framework for these products in Australia.
The decision to continue with the ban came despite 140 of the world’s top health experts banding together to urge the Aussie politicians to allow the use of nicotine as a way to save countless lives.
In a hard hitting letter they stated that Australia was ‘increasingly out-of-step’ with the likes of the UK – Europe and New Zealand in banning nicotine for use in e-cigarettes.
Australia is Becoming a “Nanny State”
The campaign to legalize nicotine use in vaping has now been taken up by Senator David Leyonhjelm – Leader of the Liberal Democrats – who recently declared a ‘war’ on the so called nanny state.
He strongly believes the sudden spurt of new laws banning anything and everything is tainting Australia’s ‘once adventurous spirit’ and believes the country has ‘been paralysed by rules and regulations – and millions of dollars are being sucked up by bureaucracy.’
- He’s now turned his attention to the e-cigarette nicotine debacle and in a press release issued this week under the excellent headline ‘Let the People Vape’ he’s urged the Australian Government to end the ‘ridiculous ban on e-cigarettes.’
He doesn’t hold back!
This is yet another example of Australia being left behind on very basic issues of personal choice.
Whether it’s the freedom-to-marry, tax reform and now the legalisation of e-cigarettes containing nicotine — our neighbours are roaring ahead on freedom.
Forget about a banana republic. Australia is at risk of becoming the hermit kingdom of the Asia-Pacific. The Australian Government believes that if you smoke, vape, gamble or buy your kids a happy meal you’re somehow a bad person.
As to his thoughts on e-cigarettes and nicotine – he’s particularly scathing at the Australian Government’s attitude:
E-cigarettes are far safer than smoking. An overwhelming numbers of scientists, academics and even bureaucrats recognise that.
They’re also part of an emerging, innovative and fast-growing vape industry which already employs hundreds of Australians.
Australians can buy e-cigarettes containing nicotine when they visit the United States, the United Kingdom and now New Zealand. It’s time we provide Australians with the same freedom in their own country.
Finally a politician talking sense on vaping!
We’ll keep you updated when and if the Australian Government makes a decision.