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Turning Vapers into Criminals

The Australian government is turning regular vapers into criminals, according to the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates

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In a bold stance against Australia's stringent vaping regulations, the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) today laid bare the reality of Australia’s appalling approach to regulating vaping – it will make vapers' criminals. The group, led by Executive Coordinator Nancy Loucas, is urging for a more balanced and evidence-based approach to tobacco harm reduction.

CAPHRA wants the government to address the stark contrast between Australia's prescriptive regulatory framework and New Zealand's successful harm reduction strategies, which have significantly contributed to reducing smoking rates. 

Australia's approach is a recipe for disaster and it’s overly prescriptive approach to regulating vaping products has sparked outrage among tobacco harm reduction experts worldwide,” said Ms Loucas. 

The stringent measures have not only failed to curb tobacco use effectively but have also fuelled a surge in black market activities, including fire-bombings and retail theft, as well as pushing people back to smoking”, with Ms Loucas adding, "It's a classic case of regulatory overreach leading to unintended, yet entirely predictable, consequences." 

In contrast, other countries are embracing harm reduction such as Malaysia, the Philippines and New Zealand showcasing a growing regional momentum towards sensible public health policies.  The latter leads the way with a sensible regulatory approach to vaping and reduced-risk products that stands as a beacon of success in the Asia Pacific region, which bears the highest harm from tobacco use. By embracing harm reduction strategies and providing smokers with safer alternatives, New Zealand has seen a significant decline in smoking rates. 

"It's not rocket science; it's simply acknowledging the evidence and acting in the best interests of public health both for everyone living in Australia," Loucas added. 

CAPHRA is calling on Australian regulators to take a leaf out of New Zealand's book and reconsider their stance on vaping regulations. The current approach not only undermines public health objectives but also demonstrates a certain arrogance in refusing to learn from neighbouring success stories. 

"One would think that looking across the Tasman for inspiration isn't too much to ask," quipped Loucas, highlighting the irony in Australia's refusal to adopt a more effective harm reduction strategy. 

The Asia Pacific region's battle against tobacco harm is at a critical juncture. With evidence-based harm reduction strategies proving successful in countries like New Zealand, the Philippines and Malaysia, it's time for other nations, particularly Australia, to follow suit. Sensible regulations that support vaping and reduced-risk products can significantly lower smoking rates and alleviate the tobacco burden on public health systems. 

CAPHRA's call to action is clear: embrace harm reduction, learn from successful models, and prioritise the health and well-being of citizens over outdated regulatory dogma. It's time for a change, and Australia should start with acknowledging the successes of its neighbours. 


Photo Credit:

  • Australia map Photo by Joey Csunyo on Unsplash, resized and cropped. Prison bars “free to use” from

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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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