Why punish someone for doing what millions of Brits and Americans have done successfully and feel good about, causing no harm to anyone else? Clive Bates.

Taking the Pro Vaping Argument to Australia

According to one newspaper if any dynamic vaping duo can convince the Australian government to legalize nicotine in e-liquids it’s the ‘Vaped Crusaders’.

Our man down under vaping advocate Clive Bates – a former director of ASH – and who’s currently on a whistle-stop tour of the country and he’s been joined by Aussie pro vape GP Dr Colin Mendelsohn.

clive bates and Colin Mendelsohnn
Clive and Colin – photo via Twitter

However they appear to be facing stiff opposition with the government not once but twice upholding the illegal status of nicotine in e-liquids.

There is a review on the matter currently underway after politicians refused to legalize nicotine vapes back in September this year saying:

…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.

Australia still classes nicotine as a poison thanks to the ruling by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and despite pressure from health experts from across the globe and a 30 page submission from Mr Bates.

Australia currently has 2.6million smokers and by refusing them access to nicotine infused e-liquids they are in effect sentencing many of them to slow lingering deaths from tobacco related illnesses – last year alone 15,500 smokers died.

According to recent research smoking levels in Australia has stayed level for the last 3 years unlike other countries that have seen a fall thanks to the acceptance of e-cigarettes.

aussie mp vaping
Australian MP speaking sense on Twitter

Their neighbours New Zealand recently made such e-liquids legal prompting the pun that once again they’ve beaten the Aussies.

Funny for sure but this really isn’t a laughing matter given not only the health risks to its people but the cost smoking related illnesses bring – last count this was between $12 and $30 billion Aus.

Five Pro Vaping Topics on the Agenda

Mr Bates is currently in the country and has appeared on a number of platforms including radio shows and will be meeting with politics and health officials.

He is taking 5 points to discuss with interested parties:

  • Relative Risks of Vaping vs Smoking
  • E-Cigs as a Gateway to Smoking
  • Bad E-Cig Policies Will Cause Harm
  • Quit Smoking Consumer Behaviour
  • Public Health Policies and Vaping

You can read more details on these bullet points on his excellent blog The Counterfactual.


Speaking to the media Mr Bates said:

It’s shocking that Australians are breaking the law and suffering punitive fines if they try to quit smoking using electronic cigarettes. Why punish someone for doing what millions of Brits and Americans have done successfully and feel good about, causing no harm to anyone else?
England’s official ‘Stoptober’ quit-smoking campaign even recommends switching to e-cigarettes in TV ads currently on air. Banning e-cigarettes is sometimes dressed up in the language of the ‘precautionary principle’, but when you have almost 3 million Australians doing something we are certain is very harmful, then banning an alternative is more reckless than it is cautious.

Mr Bates has also submitted a report to the Australian government on the effectiveness of e-cigs as a smoking cessation tool adding:

I’m not saying anything different to the UK’s Royal College of Physicians about e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction, and most of what I will say here in Australia will draw on their work.

He was joined earlier this week by Dr Mendelsohn who has long called for the legalization adding that half a million lives could be saved over the next decade:

Based on a recent US modelling study, if most Australian smokers switched to e-cigarettes over the next 10 years, up to 500,000 smoking-related deaths could be averted.

Mr Bates summed up his trip with a rallying call:

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.

Wise words indeed let’s hope they’re heeded.

Neil H
I began vaping over 7 years ago and found it easy to give up a 40 per day roll-up habit! DTL: Lost Vape DNA75C BF - Dead Rabbit SQ - MTL: JacVapour Sandstorm DNA 75 + Savour RTA...Beater set-up Lost Vape DNA 250c and Reload RTA I'm a former journalist and now a sort of writer and author.. I'm an Army veteran - adore dogs and never happier than with a good book on a beach.


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