Politics & Campaigns

Oz Ban Doubles Down On Stupid

Australia mounted a “crackdown” on vaping, only for it to fail and boost the black market. So, to address its failure, it plans to do it all over again – but tougher!

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Australia mounted a “crackdown” on vaping, only for it to fail and boost the black market. So, to address its failure, it plans to do it all over again – but tougher! The backwards attitude to harm reduction has contributed to stalled progress on combatting tobacco related harm, while forward thinking nations experience success by encouraging switching. Australia looks set to compound its previous mistakes.

Australian politicians have promised a brand new crackdown to combat a “new generation of nicotine addicts”.

They have promised a raft of new measures to include:

  • A complete flavour ban
  • Fag packet style plain packaging
  • Somehow getting tougher on illegal imports

The Health Minister is repeating the lie that vapes are “clearly aimed at children” – because no adult in history has ever liked bubble gum!

How successful has Australia been in combatting smoking?

Simple facts, the first one provided by Tobacco In Australia. In 2013 the smoking rate was 15%. 2013 was when vaping boomed across the world and would have been a good on-ramp for Australian legislators wanting to reduce tobacco-related disease and death as it was for British ones.

Currently, “the latest figures suggest that rate now sits at 14.7%”, according to Jolyon Attwooll of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Ten years of hating on vaping and they’ve reduced smoking by 0.3%

That is shockingly woeful progress, so much so that it’s no surprise that tobacco controllers in Australia bend over backwards to massage data to support their ridiculous positions on vaping.

But the Australian approach has been successful

In September last year, Dr Colin Mendelsohn produced the findings of the Smoking Cessation Guideline Expert Advisory Group.

Dr Mendelsohn said: “The review found that the policy has achieved neither of its goals and has only made things worse. It has created a thriving black market, led to skyrocketing youth vaping, and made it far harder for adult smokers to access legal vaping products

“Among young people, vaping has increased dramatically. Illicit, disposable vaping products can be easily purchased from tobacconists, convenience stores and social media, and enforcement and prosecution rates have been negligible. Instead, teachers are bearing the burden of this policy, with some schools removing toilet doors and installing vape detectors to prevent students from vaping.

“Government-funded awareness campaigns have only spread dangerous misinformation about vaping products which will do nothing to deter young people.”

Commenting on his findings, the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates said: “Not only is it outrageous that Australia is the only Western democracy that requires a nicotine prescription to vape, but this public health policy is an utter failure. This comprehensive review shines much needed light on Australia’s anti-vaping regime as well as makes some sound and sensible recommendations.”

Rather than take on board sound advice grounded in evidence, Australia is set to increase its dumb war on vaping like a blindfolded boxer punching twice as hard at thin air.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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