CAPHRA is a regional alliance of consumer tobacco harm reduction advocacy organisations. Its mission is to educate, advocate and represent the right of adult alternative nicotine consumers to access and use of products that reduce harm from tobacco use.
“While New Zealand has just legalised and regulated vaping, the Australian Federal Government is set to get much tougher on the world’s most effective smoking cessation tool. It’s totally out of whack with most of the world,” says Nancy Loucas, Director of CAPHRA.
“Ignoring all evidence, the Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt’s determination to ban the importation of all e-cigarette products containing nicotine from 1 January next year is a big backward step which will sadly lead to more Australians smoking,” she says.
CAPHRA says there are rumblings that the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration will make an announcement in the next month or so for the full medicalisation of nicotine and vaping for smoking cessation.
Ms Loucas says that if the rumblings are correct, Australia will create a huge black market for nicotine and vaping liquids, which opens up the possibilities of creating harm rather than reducing it.
She says Australia could learn much from former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who as a former Health Minister introduced the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990. The Helen Clark Foundation recently held a webinar which explored public policy around tobacco control, where Ms Clark recognised vaping is less harmful, with state regulation and control the right approach.
“Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman opposes Vaping because he doesn’t think it’s at least 95% less risky than smoking (but won’t tell you how much safer he thinks it is), and he doesn’t think there are 520,000 vapers in Australia (but won’t tell you how many he thinks there are)” - Alex Wodak
Helen Clark said: “Clearly, without question vaping is far less dangerous to health than smoking tobacco. For those for whom any other method isn't working, clearly it would be a progression to move to vaping… When you ban things, you put the control of the supply into the hands of criminal networks, which get all the proceeds from it, and you also criminalise the user. What on earth is the point of criminalising the user?”
CAPHRA is now passionately calling on Australian vapers and those concerned about combustible tobacco’s impact on communities to be part of the forthcoming Voices4Vape webinar [link]. The ultimate collective aim is to save Australian lives and the lives of millions of smokers in the Asia Pacific region.
"Let your voice be heard and help create a smoke free world, where tobacco harm reduction is embraced with the same enthusiasm as vaccinations and personal protective gear such as helmets and seatbelts. Your personal story and your support will be part of a collective voice in the Asia Pacific and around the world in demanding access to tobacco harm reduction options,” says Nancy Loucas.