Earlier this week, Andrew Laming- Liberal MP for Bowman in Queensland, spoke out in Federal Parliament to support Senator David Leyonhjelm’s bill to legalise nicotine vaping by removing it from Schedule 7 of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Australian Poisons Standard.
Laming joins Leyonhjelm and Senator Cory Bernardi amongst a growing number of elected representatives expressing support for the timely legalisation of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems – life-saving technology which has been proven to provide smokers with a safer, non-carcinogenic alternative and way to quit their habit.
In his speech, Laming expressed disappointment with the prohibition rather than harm-reduction focused approach of the TGA who decided to maintain nicotine solutions as a banned substance earlier this year.
“I can appreciate the … notion that we first do absolutely no harm but, surely, if you are going to ban e-cigarettes, how can you possibly collect the evidence? We have the rest of the developed world recognising that we can lower the years lost due to smoking by turning to these devices. Sixty-eight per cent of smokers will tell you they would use them if they were a similar price or less. Three-quarters of Australians in surveys say they would contemplate this as an alternative.”
“It is the Royal College of Physicians that we should perhaps be listening to. This …. group in the UK, where clearly vaping is not the enemy of the state that it is in Australia, said provision of the nicotine that smokers are addicted to without the harmful components of tobacco smoke can prevent most of the harm from smoking. And, I add, it is without a single cent's cost to the taxpayer.”
“…I do not want to relive the five years when we fought against medical cannabis, only to have a Eureka moment and discover we should not have taken the attitude that the evidence was not complete. You know what? The evidence will never be complete as long as we ban something that is already broadly available. We should be more open to work with our supermarkets, with our points of sale, and through education and the public health groups to make sure that vaping is possible in Australia. It is already there. We should stop turning a blind eye and work together to beat the scourge of smoking.”
The full transcript of Mr. Laming’s comments can be viewed here.
Satyajeet Marar is the Director of MyChoice and Total Harm Reduction Now (THRNow)