As the South Australian Government forces $60 million worth of local small businesses to close their doors, they are also locking South Australian smokers out of using smoke-free products to quit smoking for good.
Instead of paternalistic, fear-mongering bans, we need common sense changes that make it easier for smokers to access properly regulated smoke-free products to help them quit.
South Australia could have helped Australia catch up with the rest of the world and legalise smoke-free products – including e-cigarettes and vaping – to help give smokers another aid to quitting.
Instead, the South Australian Government’s short-sighted ban will force retailers to turn smokers away. And now, the Marshall Government’s one-size-fits-all bill, which bans sales online or by mail, phone, email or fax, will deprive thousands of South Australians of a legitimate choice to quit smoking.
And it’s not just smokers who are impacted, with their families and communities also exposed to second-hand smoke.
In spite of this mounting international public health evidence, South Australian Government bill incorrectly and ignorantly conflates cigarettes and smoke-free products.
According to the CSIRO, e-cigarettes do not produce smoke – and as the biggest cancer risk comes from combustion of tobacco – it means they are also better for people around smokers.
The UK Government’s own Public Health England says e-cigarettes are 95 per cent less harmful than smoking and recommends using smoke-free products as quit aids in its official guidance to doctors. This is because smoke-free products can also act like nicotine-replacement products that help smokers quit with far fewer harmful chemicals than cigarettes.
Health Canada is finalising its advice to help adult smokers make an informed choice about smoke-free products, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, American Cancer Society and the US Annual Review of Public Health, have also concluded that e-cigarettes are substantially less harmful than smoking.
These products are already legal in countries such as Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
What’s worse; the Government has left consumers on their own when it comes to the danger of poorly manufactured devices and the scourge of illicit tobacco.
If the South Australian Government doesn’t accept the need for sensible regulation, Australians will continue to risk importing these products via the internet where they do not meet Australia’s strict safety and health standards.
According to the US Fire Administration, between 2009 and 2016, 195 separate incidents of explosion and fire involving an electronic cigarette were reported by the U.S. media. 29 percent of the acute injuries incurred were severe, and (62 percent) of the incidents occurred when the device was either in a pocket or actively in use.
This is the potentially catastrophic result of South Australia’s head in the sand approach.
Every day the government delays in legalising smoke-free products means more people at risk of suffering from smoking-related cancer and diseases. The Marshall Government has betrayed its values to an illiberal, ineffective ban that will simply perpetuate smoking.
Brian Marlow is the Campaign Director for Legalise Vaping Australia.
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