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Australia’s ‘backward’ Position On Vaping To Be Explored At Webinar

Vapers are being encouraged to attend an online conference on Saturday, 26 September. Dubbed Voices4Vape, the virtual event will shed light on vaping and other alternatives to combustible cigarettes.

Initiated by the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA), the webinar includes two well-known Australian vaping advocates, Victorian MP Fiona Patten, and public policy consultant Terry Barnes.

Both will be panellists on the webinar’s expert panel discussing risk proportionate regulation, with registration free and the event open to all. The public is encouraged to ask questions via a chatbox, with the webinar running from 8.00pm until midnight (NZT) via https://voices4vape.org

CAPHRA believes Australia is fast becoming the odd one out in the Asia Pacific region.

“While New Zealand has just legalised and regulated vaping, the Australian Federal Government is set to get much tougher on the world’s most effective smoking cessation tool. It’s totally out of whack with most of the world,” says Nancy Loucas, Director of CAPHRA.

“Ignoring all evidence, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt’s determination to ban the importation of all e-cigarette products containing nicotine from 1 January next year is a big backward step which will sadly lead to more Australians smoking,” she says.

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has this week made an interim announcement on the full medicalisation of nicotine and vaping for smoking cessation. Vapers will need to get a doctor’s prescription and visit a pharmacy for nicotine supplies, with a complex process for vapers needing to be repeated every year. Submissions close on 6 November, with consultation documents on the proposal available at https://www.tga.gov.au/scheduling-decision-interim/notice-interim-decision-amend-current-poisons-standard-relation-nicotine 

Ms Loucas says such a move would create a huge black market for nicotine and vaping liquids in Australia and opens up the possibilities of creating harm rather than reducing it. The TGA proposal takes away a viable and effective option for Australia's current smoking population to make the switch and may force current vapers back to smoking combustible tobacco.

She says Australia could learn much from former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who as a former Health Minister introduced the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990.

The Helen Clark Foundation recently held a webinar which explored public policy around tobacco control, where Ms Clark recognised vaping is less harmful, with state regulation and control the right approach.

Helen Clark: “Clearly, without question vaping is far less dangerous to health than smoking tobacco. For those for whom any other method isn't working, clearly it would be a progression to move to vaping… When you ban things, you put the control of the supply into the hands of criminal networks, which get all the proceeds from it, and you also criminalise the user. What on earth is the point of criminalising the user?”

The 26 September webinar will bring together many public health policy experts, scientists, professionals, and consumers who agree smoke-free nicotine products are a much safer alternative to cigarettes, and a fundamental human right.

Voices4Vape aims to convince regulators to give consumers a voice in the policy-making process, helping to reduce the enormous health risks and costs caused by cigarettes.

The webinar will mark the first significant consumer-focused event on tobacco harm reduction in the Asia Pacific region. All panellists and key participants are listed on the Voices4Vape website (www.voices4vape.org).

CAPHRA is now passionately calling on vapers and those concerned about combustible tobacco’s impact on communities to be part of the Voices4Vape webinar. The ultimate collective aim is to save the adult lives of millions of smokers in the Asia Pacific region, especially focussing on the many Australian lives which could be negatively impacted by the recent decisions of Hon Greg Hunt.

"Let your voice be heard and help create a smoke free world, where tobacco harm reduction is embraced with the same enthusiasm as vaccinations and personal protective gear such as helmets and seatbelts.

“Your personal story and your support will be part of a collective voice in the Asia Pacific and around the world in demanding access to tobacco harm reduction options,” says Nancy Loucas.

https://voices4vape.org/

About CAPHRA

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates (CAPHRA) is a regional alliance of consumer tobacco harm reduction advocacy organisations. Its mission is to educate, advocate and represent the right of adult alternative nicotine consumers to access and use of products that reduce harm from tobacco use.

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