The decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to ban safer electronic cigarettes but to continue allowing the sale of highly lethal traditional cigarettes is a missed opportunity to help reduce Australia’s smoking rate.
Russell Zimmerman, spokesperson for the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the Australian Retail Vaping Industry Association (ARVIA), said today’s decision is disappointing but retailers remained committed to advocating for safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes to be made legal.
“The interim decision by the TGA to reject an application to make Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) legal stands in contrast to health regulators in more than 50 nations around the world including New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Japan, Korea and 27 EU member states, where all categories of vaping and e-cigarettes products are legally available.
Mr Zimmerman said the Federal Government now needs to develop a comprehensive whole of government approach that deals with e-cigarettes, heated tobacco and nicotine vaping products together in a rigorous and systematic way, similar to the bipartisan process currently underway in New Zealand.
“The TGAs decision provides the Federal Government with a fresh opportunity to legalise, regulate and tax all categories of vaping products as part of a coherent long-term health and economic strategy to reduce Australia’s smoking rate and to address tobacco-related harm in our community.
According to Public Health England, e-cigarettes, HTPs and nicotine vaping products are at least 95% safer than conventional cigarettes as they emit far fewer harmful toxicants and carcinogens than burnt tobacco. The research also shows that these products are the most popular and effective quit smoking tools available globally and are the best chance yet to help people quit smoking and to save lives.
“Denying adult smokers’ access to scientifically proven safer alternatives to conventional cigarettes as the TGA has proposed is unsustainable in the long term.
“The rest of the Western Democratic world has legalised and is regulating smoke free products and seeing significant benefits as people quit smoking in record numbers.
“The only winners from maintaining a ban on nicotine vaping in Australia are the tobacco companies whose lethal products remain legally protected and widely available, as well as organised criminal gangs who are making billions in profit from a booming illicit tobacco trade.
“The losers are the three million Australian smokers and their families who are being deprived of the opportunity to legally purchase scientifically proven, lifesaving healthier alternatives to traditional cigarettes,” he said.
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