Oz Vote For More Of The Same

Posted 3rd May 2019 by Dave Cross
Australia is approaching a federal election and the two leading candidates to run its healthcare system have been putting their cases forward at the National Press Club (NPC) debate. Unfortunately, according to critics, neither of them cares about the lives of smokers and are both failing to appreciate the role vaping plays in reducing tobacco-related disease.

"This election offers a stark choice, and nowhere is that choice more stark than when it comes to health policy,” said Labor health spokeswoman Catherine King in a televised debate earlier today. “It's a choice between a Labor Party with an ambitious health agenda, and a Liberal Party with no agenda at all."

Liberal Health Minister Greg Hunt denied this and said his party had a “long-term national health plan” based on building a strong economy.

King commented that, “voters complain there isn’t much difference between the major parties. I’m not sure that’s ever really true, and it’s certainly not at this election,” but this isn’t true when it comes to vaping and tobacco harm reduction.

Both of the candidates described vaping as a “public health disaster”. Claiming that it is nothing more than something being promoted “by the tobacco lobby”, Hunt claimed the use of mods and eliquid was “a ramp on, rather than a path off, smoking.”

The Independent Vaper Group NT responded: “Our government representatives are being misinformed, perhaps hidden agendas. Promotion of tobacco and smokers’ lives is not the focus of both political parties.”

“Legalisation of vaping will never be achieved under Greg Hunt MP or Catherine King MP as ministers of health, they believe in misinformation that is clearly wrong and they have no interest in health of smokers. We have serious concerns for harm prevention.”

Legalise Vaping Australia (LVA) added: “At the NPC health debate both Catherine King MP and Greg Hunt MP do not see the potential to reduce tobacco related harm with vaping. Are smokers who can't quit better off smoking? We are calling for regulation with sensible standards.”

LVA offered up 64 studies that “demonstrate that smoke-free products like vaping are less harmful than traditional cigarettes or are an effective way to quit for good.”

Alex Wodak, President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and director at the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA), said: “Unfortunately Hunt and King are running a unity ticket in opposition to vaping. Both support policies that have brought Australia flat smoking rates since 2013.”

Professor David Nutt, Head of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit at Imperial College, recently spoke to ATHRA about the advice he’d give to Australian smokers who struggle to quit tobacco

A recent report published in the journal Addictive Behaviors by Queensland researchers, noted: “Australia remains the only westernised democracy that prohibits the sale, and possession or use of non-therapeutic nicotine containing e-cigarettes.”

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker