Aussie and NZ psychiatrists endorse vaping!
The Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), the peak body for psychiatrists in our two countries, has endorsed nicotine vaping as a harm reduction strategy for carcinogenic tobacco, noting that it “will provide a safer way to deliver nicotine to those who are unable to stop smoking.”
In their submission to the recent Federal Inquiry into e-cigarettes and personal vapourisers, the RANZCP called for the legalisation of nicotine-loaded e-liquids in Australia, accompanied by regulations that promote safety and quality standards, promote safe and responsible use, restrict sales to minors and foster consumer access at a reasonable cost, including through minimal tax and excise.
“'[vapes] should not be regulated as medicines, as this would present significant regulatory barriers for their production and distribution. Nor should they be regulated as tobacco products which might similarly restrict their availability.”
The RANZCP’s recommendation is good news for smokers looking to quit, especially those suffering from mental illness or disability. While most mental health facilities are ‘smokefree’, “there may be benefits in allowing the use of e-cigarettes and vaporisers in these settings. This may encourage patients to switch to these less harmful alternatives while reducing the conflicts which smoking bans can sometimes cause.”
Dr. Colin Mendelsohn, eminent tobacco treatment specialist and Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of New South Wales and, agrees. “E-cigarettes could be of special benefit to smokers with mental illness, who are more likely to smoke and smoke more heavily than other smokers. Smoking is the leading cause of the poor health of this population.” Studies show that a whopping 70% of schizophrenia sufferers and 61% of Bipolar disorder sufferers are smokers compared to 16% of those without mental health issues.
We commend the RANZCP for advocating for tobacco harm reduction, especially for marginalised communities such as those suffering from mental illness.
The full RANZCP submission to the government can be viewed here.
Satyajeet Marar is Director of Policy at the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance and Director of THRNow. He can be followed on Facebook.