For citizens of Australia who are trying to quit smoking by switching to vaping, they are now viewed as criminals in the eyes of the federal government. In an announcement published on February 2 via the website of the Therapeutic Drugs Administration (TDA), e-cigs and vaping technology utilizing nicotine-infused e-liquids are now illegal. Strangely, tobacco cigarettes containing even higher levels of nicotine and toxicities will remain exempt from the ban.
The arguments over Australian e-cigs mimics those often found in the United States. Even though multiple public health agencies around the world, including the Royal College of Physicians in Great Britain, has stated uncategorically that e-cigs are 95 percent safer than combustible cigarettes, an overwhelming number of Australians still aren’t convinced.
Like many of the less-informed citizens here in the United States, the common assumption held “down under” is that electronic cigarettes are a gateway to conventional smoking, especially for teenagers and young adults. And this has been the long-held majority opinion for quite some time because nicotine-infused e-cigs have been illegal for several years.
TDA decision even quotes USA statistics
It was only when the new Nicotine Alliance Australia (NNA) organization proposed an amendment to the TDA’s Poisons Standard just last year that Aussie vapers gained a glimmer of hope that their favorite smoking alternative would eventually be made legal. The NNA proposal even contained a very limited legal threshold of only 3.6 percent nicotine.
But the TDA was not easily swayed, officially putting the kibosh on the matter once and for all. The February 2 TDA ruling listed a long series of “reasons” for the decisive, though inconsistent, response. Below are just a few of the more controversial.
And in at least one section of the ruling, the TDA even refers to anti-vaping propaganda originating from the United States.
“In the USA, accidental poisonings associated with e-cigarettes have increased from one per month in 2010 to 215 per month in 2014 including one death.”
Of course, tobacco products remain completely unscathed throughout this whole ordeal. And Simon Chapman, a former professor at the University of Sydney suggests that Big Tobacco may view the re-certified vaping ban as a potential financial windfall of new opportunities. According to an earlier interview with the Australian Associated Press, Chapman believes that tobacco companies like Philip Morris and British American Tobacco “will receive a large number of totally commercially driven submissions from people who see this as an opportunity to make a lot of money.”
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