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Breaking News: Australia Considers Ban on Tobacco Cigarettes, Forcing Smokers to Use Electronic Cigarettes

UpdateThe University of Queensland is now reporting that the study is funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant, and not by the Australian government, while Dr Coral Gartner Health Canal is disputing the whole story. (Thanks to Gregory Conley for the link.)

According to The Age National, Australia is to consider a ban on tobacco cigarettes from 2015  if tests on electronic cigarettes prove the vapour is safer than the tobacco smoke.

The Australian government has poured a million dollars in to tests to determine if e-cigarettes are safer or more dangerous than tobacco cigarettes.

Since every other test has found that electronic cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes (even tests which have found carcinogens have found them to be hundreds or thousands of times lower than in cigarette smoke) at first glance it looks like the ban could be a done thing.

However, the plans could be scuppered if the newly elected Conservative government takes a more liberal approach than the current Labour government.

A Massive Change in Tone

About turn!

This is quite surprising, since the Australian government has been quite anal about allowing e-cigarettes with nicotine, which is classified as as a poison, to be sold.

One of our retailers in Australia (page since removed) was told he would be shut down if he sold e-cigs with nicotine, and his customers have had to come to our UK website to buy nicotine refills and e-liquid.

Fortunately, Australia does still allow people to buy nicotine refills and e-liquid from abroad, but this means people have to deal with hefty postage charges AND long delays. Still, despite the disadvantages, Australians vapers report it is not just healthier but cheaper than buying tobacco cigarettes.

What do you think?

Question mark

Scientists argue that it is obvious that electronic cigarettes are safer. The problem with cigarettes is the delivery method, not nicotine, which has a similar risk profile to caffeine.

And fear-mongering that e-cigarettes are a gateway to cigarettes ignores a massive Action on Smoking and Health study that found that 0% of e-cigarette users were non-smokers.

But is removing choice really the right choice? Despite the obvious health benefits, I still think that’s it up to smokers what they do with their bodies.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Story Source: The Age National

22 thoughts on “Breaking News: Australia Considers Ban on Tobacco Cigarettes, Forcing Smokers to Use Electronic Cigarettes”

  1. Well, I’d certainly like to hear what Aussies think about it.
    Personally I’m against any bans in such cases. Totally counter productive. It will only lead to development of black market like prohibition did.

    Vaping is smoking of the future, anyway. I wouldn’t try to impose it on anyone. Let smokers come around to it themselves.

    1. What happened to freedom of choice? Just allow e-cigs to be readily available (unlike currently) and allow consumers to make their own ‘informed’ choice.

  2. Although the proposed ban on cigarettes would thankfully help to further the acceptance of ecigs surly the Australian government would be mad to try an implement a blanket ban on tobacco.How would they enforce such a ban,tobacco would simply go underground and on to the black market

  3. Good to hear the delibetrate desinformation of the WHO is no longer followed blindly and the abrusk change of tone of voice is more than welcome. But let the e-cig compete freely with tobacco without banning or forcing anything and I know on what to bet my money in the long run.

  4. I agree with the above, this ban would be an extraordinarily draconian show of nanny-stating. Totally counter productive. I too, would love to know the views of the Aussies!

  5. I would like to hear from Aussie smokers on this. Personally I think it would be preferable to encourage smokers to switch by selling ecigs next to baccy ones noting that vaping is not only a healthier option but also cheaper

  6. I am an Australian who has been using ecigs for several years ( I used to smoke about 30 tobacco cigs a day). Ecigs are fantastic for people like me who found other nicotine replacement therapies infective/ depressing.

    Australia has already made smoking tobacco very expensive and very restricted in where you can do it- a good thing.

    However Australia on the whole has taken a ‘harm minimisation’ approach to lots of similar issues- I think that we are more likely to keep pushing up the cost and increasing the restrictions on where you can smoke , rather than an outright ban on smoking.

    As for ecigs I suspect that eventually the appeal to Treasury of the taxes that could be raised on their sale as well as their relative health benefits will win out over the ‘nannys’ .

    And trying to regulate or even ban something whose components – rechargeable batteries, small heating coils, vegetable glycerine, nicotine and so on- are all individually legal and used for many other purposes, looks like a very big project 🙂

  7. A ban could result in some smokers entrenching more deeply than they now are. Less likely to quit or switch. I know that I almost took up smoking because of the ramp up in the war on tobacco. Just didn’t want to be identified as an anti-smoker.

    Choice is always the way forward. As great an alternative as e-cigarettes are, you should be able to smoke if that’s what you want to do. Besides…you let one ban through and what’s next – alcohol?

  8. Aussie here. I think it’s just another bullshit by one of those funded anti-smoking groups. They just make noise to show they’re doing something in order to keep the easy money rolling in. Without smokers these people would be out of a job and they know it.

  9. Necro here a member of aussie vapers forum,These studies have been commisioned by the australian labor party who were recently voted out of goverment,this type of policy is just what those nanny-state retards were all about,But in the real world those idiots never had a chance of passing a ban on smoking besides our goverment like all goverments around the world are hugely addicted to the tax dollars raised by cigarette taxes.This news article is just more Pie in the sky stuff we have come to expect from todays media.

  10. Pingback: Australia to ban smoking and allow ecigs? SMH - Page 9

  11. I would agree with everyone else. A ban would be counter productive. If e cigs are allowed to be sold without interference from government, they will I believe eventually replace regular cigarettes. If we allow government to ban one thing, they will ban other things.

  12. Banning tobacco isn’t the solution – that would create a black market and essentially martyr the tobacco companies. What you do, see, is let electronic cigarettes become legally and socially accepted. They are a FAR superior product than tobacco, and if given an equal shot in the marketplace, will easily replace tobacco in smokers’ lives naturally. By outlawing tobacco, you create a martyr. By legalizing electronic cigarettes, the smokers themselves will discredit and abandon tobacco use for a better product.

    1. “By outlawing tobacco, you create a martyr. By legalizing electronic cigarettes, the smokers themselves will discredit and abandon tobacco use for a better product.”

      Assuming this isn’t a massive mistake by some journalist (apparently they have already mistaken a non-government study for a government study) that’s my concern too. We’ve already seen that if e-cigarettes are a choice, millions of smokers will use them (but that doesn’t mean it suits all smokers), but if you remove the element of choice and force smokers to use them you could create a backlash.

      1. As Necro noted Australia has just elected a Liberal/Conservative government (BTW I will not even try to explain the Australian meaning of Liberal-Conservative to Americans 🙂 )

        Ecigs have caught a lot of ‘authorities’ by surprise tobacco company’s were/are large quasi monopolies -easy for governments to regulate. In comparison ecigs are a fast growing, web style thing- entry costs are low and therefore there are tens of thousands of small start-ups with thousands of variations of ecigs : a nightmare for the ‘regulator’ type mind. 🙂

        Australian Liberal-Conservatives on the whole do not support mindless restrictions on individuals, just for the sake of it, there needs to be a very clear pressing need and benefit. I doubt that the federal government would outright ban the import and manufacturing of tobacco cigs anytime soon.

        BTW Australia is also a federation of 6 states and two territories, much of our public health laws about where you can/cannot smoke and so on is the province of the 6 individual States law not federal law

          1. Not sure how they will play this one.
            Nicotine is not illegal , you can buy some forms of nicotine in the supermarket. At the moment I can buy all the gear in Hong Kong (good quality) and import, no problem…. In reality the current situation is a BS ‘look busy’ type restriction.
            Regulating trade in something that is small easy to post (and hardly high explosives) in a web world, is both very costly and hard to do in practice.
            The foundational polity of Australia is community minded, liberal free trade AND pragmatic- ‘give it a go, if it works , adopt it’

  13. This is from a pretty comprehensive careful scientific evaluation of ecigs re health of both vapers and non vapers:
    By Igor Burstyn, PhD
    Department of Environmental and Occupational Health School of Public Health Drexel University

    Key Conclusions:
     Even when compared to workplace standards for involuntary exposures, and using several conservative (erring on the side of caution) assumptions, the exposures from using e-cigarettes fall well below the threshold for concern for compounds with known toxicity. That is, even ignoring the benefits of e-cigarette use and the fact that the exposure is actively chosen, and even comparing to the levels that are considered unacceptable to people who are not benefiting from the exposure and do not want it, the exposures would not generate concern or call for remedial action.

     Expressed concerns about nicotine only apply to vapers who do not wish to consume it; a voluntary (indeed, intentional) exposure is very different from a contaminant.

     There is no serious concern about the contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (formaldehyde, acrolein, etc.) in the liquid or produced by heating. While these contaminants are present, they have been detected at problematic levels only in a few studies that apparently were based on unrealistic levels of heating.

     The frequently stated concern about contamination of the liquid by a nontrivial quantity of ethylene glycol or diethylene glycol remains based on a single sample of an early technology product (and even this did not rise to the level of health concern) and has not been replicated.

     Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA) are present in trace quantities and pose no more (likely much less) threat to health than TSNAs from modern smokeless tobacco products, which cause no measurable risk for cancer.

     Contamination by metals is shown to be at similarly trivial levels that pose no health risk, and the alarmist claims about such contamination are based on unrealistic assumptions about the molecular form of these elements.

     The existing literature tends to overestimate the exposures and exaggerate their implications. This is partially due to rhetoric, but also results from technical features. The most important is confusion of the concentration in aerosol, which on its own tells us little about risk to heath, with the relevant and much smaller total exposure to compounds in the aerosol averaged across all air inhaled in the course of a day. There is also clear bias in previous reports in favor of isolated instances of highest level of chemical detected across multiple studies, such that average exposure that can be calculated are higher than true value because they are “missing” all true zeros.

     Routine monitoring of liquid chemistry is easier and cheaper than assessment of aerosols. Combined with an understanding of how the chemistry of the liquid affects the chemistry of the aerosol and insights into behavior of vapers, this can serve as a useful tool to ensure the safety of e-cigarettes.

     The only unintentional exposures (i.e., not the nicotine) that seem to rise to the level that they are worth further research are the carrier chemicals themselves, propylene glycol and glycerin. This exposure is not known to cause health problems, but the magnitude of the exposure is novel and thus is at the levels for concern based on the lack of reassuring data.

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