Australian anti-harm reduction campaigners are very proud of their nation’s stance on tobacco control. The pinnacle of their achievement has been to remove branding from cigarette packaging, announced in 2010 and implemented the following year. Dark-brown packs now contain health warnings covering 75% of the front and 90% of the back.
The aim of the move, explained by Zhou and Wakefield, was “to discourage the initiation of tobacco use and encourage cessation, discourage relapse, and reduce exposure to tobacco smoke,” through reducing the appeal.
Some might think that if the pair are so concerned about smoking then they would embrace the prospect of vaping reducing harm? No, they praise, “the World Health Assembly’s endorsement in 2017 of plain packaging as a best buy for combating the noncommunicable diseases epidemic”.
One might wonder if Zhou and Wakefield read Australia’s Daily Telegraph recently. Legalise Vaping Australia did, and commented: “In the Daily Telegraph today, reports that some male smoking rates are actually rising! Yet still we ignore vaping as a harm reduction tool, even though the UK and US are seeing falls in smoking as a result of vaping. It is time to legalise and regulate.”
The shocking failure of tobacco control measures, resulting in the 19.3% rise, was covered on television:
In response to the news, Colin Mendelsohn pointed out that safer nicotine products such vaping, snus, and heated tobacco products will save lives.
On the ATHRA website, Colin writes: “The major difference between Australia and other high-income countries is Australia’s ban on tobacco harm reduction strategies, i.e. the use of safer nicotine products like vaporisers (e-cigarettes), Swedish snus and heated tobacco products for smokers who are unable to quit. Of the 37 OECD countries there are only three that ban vaping, Australia, Japan and Mexico.”
“Australia is increasingly out of step with the rest of the world on tobacco harm reduction. Two out of every three smokers will die prematurely from smoking. We need to urgently make safer alternatives available for smokers who cannot quit. Not doing so is costing Australian lives.”
Suzanne, Melanie – the ball is back in your court.