While the Canberra’s Inquiry into legalised vaping goes on, leading Western nations continue to step ahead by recognising the advice of public health experts worldwide – that vaping technology should be made available to tobacco smokers as a safer alternative and an effective smoking-cessation aid.
The latest Canadian laws aim to harmonise vaping regulations nationwide while recognising vapes as inherently different to carcinogenic tobacco-based cigarettes. Canadian Health Minister, Jane Philpott noted evidence that “the use of vaping products can be used as a harm reduction tool for people who are current smokers.”, echoing the findings of multiple long-term cross-sectional studies as well as independent health experts such as the prestigious UK Royal College of Physicians.
Philpott further noted that “The introduction of this important legislation is the next step in the Government's work to protect young Canadians from nicotine addiction and tobacco use. At the same time, it introduces an approach to vaping products that considers their potential benefits to smokers.” The law will also introduce vaping-specific measures to promote safe and responsible use such as a prohibition on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and child-resistant packaging for nicotine solutions. Regulations like these are currently impossible in Australia where nicotine solutions are erroneously classified as a ‘poison’, forcing vapers to access products through unregulated black markets which the government has failed to control.
The reforms have been welcomed by the peak public health agency of the Canadian government. Health Canada described the legislation as important as it will “protect youth from nicotine addiction and tobacco use while allowing adult smokers to access vaping products as less harmful alternatives to tobacco.”
Innovative and pragmatic laws are the first step towards facilitating smoker access to vaping products which have been proven to cause a substantial reduction in the build-up of carcinogenic chemicals and tar in the bodies of those who have transitioned from smoking cigarettes.
The ATA recently released our submission to the Australian government. It outlines evidence that vapes are overwhelmingly taken up by current smokers or those looking to quit, serve as a gateway ‘away’ from cigarette smoking and do not carry any material risks for passive smokers.
With both mounting evidence and international consensus, it’s about time that Australian policy makers joined their foreign counterparts and embraced the vape.
Satyajeet Marar is the Director of Policy at the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. He can be followed on Facebook.