ABC News online recently published a story on the concerns many former Northern Territory smokers have over the NT Parliament’s debate this week on amendments to the Tobacco Control Act - particularly on how it will regulate the sale and use of e-cigarettes. The Northern Territory has the highest rate of smoking in Australia, and many Territorians have used vaporisers and e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking. However, the community fears that the Parliament’s debate may make it harder for former smokers to freely access vapes, and could mean the smoking quit rate continues to flatline.
The community came out in force online this week to show their support for vaping as a pathway to quitting smoking, with over 100 comments posted on ABC Darwin’s Facebook page. We decided to collate a few of these to demonstrate the overwhelming support for smoke-free products as a quit-smoking device. Check out the comments below.
Donna: I'd smoked for over 30 years. Since I started vaping I haven't picked up a stink stick. It's been a year and a half now. I tried the pills, the gum, the patches... you name it, I tried it. Wasn't until I vaped that I stopped and like so many others it was instant. This is NOT tobacco, to compare vaping to tobacco is like comparing an alcoholic drink to a softdrink and exploring the same alcoholic rules to the softdrink!!
Renee: Vaping is the only thing that has helped me to quit cigarettes. The. Only. Thing. my fingers aren't stained yellow, i can exercise for longer, my chest doesn't feel as heavy (even in the humidity), i can manage stressful situations better, I don't smell like an ashtray, my sense of smell/taste is as strong as ever. Vaping is healthier than smoking, Yes not smoking anything would be better but for those who have struggled and failed to quit with other remedies have found success with vaping. Don't force us to be part of a country where there is no progress.
Stephen: I have quit smoking!!
It was 5 years ago when Steven Whalan introduced me to vaping on a minesite in the tanami desert. We worked together out their. He told me about his smoking related health problems and why he had taken up vaping. He also told me about the positive difference vaping as an alternative had made. Being I was feeling the poor affects of smoking myself and didn't wish to end up a smoking statistic I figured Id give it a try. Steven guided me to an adequate starting set up and taught me how to use it. Months later I wasn't smoking cigarettes and felt a world better for it. Yes i copped a bunch of ridicule from cigarette smokers about vaping but I kept with it. 5 years later I have also quit vaping. For no other reason than I no longer feel the need. I was able to gradually work myself away from nicotine and felt no problems puting down the vaporiser. People smoking cigarettes wasn't an issue because for years now my brain has forgotten the tar smoke nicotine connection. With the multitude of vapour flavours my mind couldnt connect a new scent to nicotine thus the smell of vape doesnt affect me and the smell of tar stick smoke just smells horrible.
My question is how much has this venture saved the health system in years to come from just my own positive health changes? Is vaping evil at all? And why are people being legislated out of being able to make decisions to improve their health. When was law ever designed to kill us? Why is it now?
Mingy: Two thirds of smokers will die from tobacco related health issues. The AMA and Government is part of the problem by restrictions placed on long term smokers, The TGA allows for importation of Nicotine for vaping by individuals as a successful alternative to failed TGA approved NRT products. Vaping with nicotine has significant health benefits for those who cease smoking tobacco products, surely this is inline with the governments target. Making it harder to obtain vaping products or increasing prices will result in more smokers not quitting.
James: As someone who smoked for 40+ years and failed to quit after innumerable attempts using accepted methods and nicotine replacement therapies, someone put an E cigarette in my hand and I successfully gave up OVERNIGHT!
I literally exchanged smoking for vaping and have never looked back. I am now over 18 months on tobacco free and my health has improved, I can breath and taste normally for the first time in I can't remember how long! Even my Doctor has commented on the improvement.
This proposed Legislation is just plain WRONG!
Vape products do not contain tobacco and should not be lumped in with tobacco products!
To do this out of a lack of information and a lack of analysis from professionally instituted studies in this country is negligent to say the least. If our own Government is not prepared to instigate the correct studies then they should at least take into consideration studies that have been done by some of the world's leading Medical Institutes such as some of the British Medical Associations that have the UK now actually encouraging smokers to switch over to vaping!
Ignorance is no grounds for instituting Legislation!
Why won't our politicians and Health Legislators recognise this for what it is and what it can do to help the general public give up smoking? Why are they not interested in saving lives??
Tyrone: Why the hell is this going to be regulated like cigarettes? They ARE NOT cigarettes, they are E.N.D.S (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) They should, at the very most, be treated the same way as any other nicotine replacement therapy, that's just common sense. No different the the Nicorette inhalers just electronic. I have tried ALL the standard ways of quitting, and the not so standard and this has been the only thing that has helped me quit and stay a non smoker.
James: 103 days tobacco free after 20 years thanks to vaping... only thing that worked
Hector: I gave up thanks to vaping (15 years), I tried everything including Champix, which has terrible side effects. Vaping helped me get healthier and improve my quality of life, don't penalize people trying to do the right thing
Blake: 4 years smoke free because of the vape and my health has never been better.
Paul: Smoke free after 20 years tried every method known only to relapse but feeling positive on the vape no withdrawals and health getting better
Steve: I smoked for 30 years and at the point I quit and moved to vaping I was spending upward of $200 a week on cigarettes, woke up coughing every morning and suffered the lingering stench, stained fingers and heavy chest associated with cigarettes. I failedagain and again trying to abstain to the point of frustration and was eventually led to vaping. I guess it's probably not the perfect health solution however I now have significantly less financial stress, my breathing is more free, I smell like strawberries and my habit has significantly less impact on others. Most importantly, I no longer feel controlled by addiction.
Raquel: Definitely not! It is not a tobacco product so grouping it in as a tobacco product makes absolutely no sense. So many people that have tried everything possible to quit smoking have found that vaping is the only successful method. If the government really cared about people's health, they would subsidise nicotine replacements instead of allowing them to cost almost the same amount as a packet of cigarettes. All the government care about is the tax that they can rape from cigarettes. At least other countries see vaping for what it is. Australia falls behind again. NZ seem to be one step ahead at all times.
Margaret: I smoked for 41 years and switched completely to vaping easily 7 + yrs ago. Vaping is NOT SMOKING
Anthea: As a smoker who tried numerous “approved” quit smoking tools, I can safely say that vaping is the only one that has been successful. I truly hope that the government and medical bodies of Australia look towards the UK and NZ and the US and look to their research findings and reduction in smokers in those countries and allow the regulation of e-cigarettes and vaping products as a recognised and approved quit smoking tool. Vaping contains none of the harmful chemicals found in tobacco products and should not be considered under the same legislation. Vaping saves lives and the reason it is gaining more traction in the public is because it’s successful in getting people off the smokes and will over time have a massively positive impact on the reduction of health services for tobacco related illnesses. By providing the correct controls we can ensure that the industry is safe. The government and quit smoking programs such as Quitline recommend products such as patches and gums and sprays. All of these products contain nicotine, why is vaping being seen as the bad one of the bunch. These approved methods are also not treated as tobacco products and not required to be hidden from view, again why are e-cigarettes any different? My health has improved ever since I started vaping and will only get better over time.
Dane: I have been off the smokes for almost two years now thanks to vaping, my health has improved and so has my bank account, I can breath properly and my taste is back, it has been one of the best decisions I have made to stop smoking and it is thanks to vaping
Kathie: e-cigarettes should not be regulated like tobacco products because they aren't tobacco products. E-cigs were recommended to a family member, after a stroke, to give up smoking...this recommendation was from a therapist at RDH. As far as nicotine goes, if you do use it you know exactly how much nicotine is in the vape, where is it written on a tobacco product?? Shouldn't the contents of cigarettes be listed on the packet, just like all other products??? Let's get that sorted and leave the e-cigs alone.
Kirstin: Vaping has helped me from relapsing into smoking. I have seen first hand the number of Territorians that have stopped smoking and now vape - there are thousands just here in the Territory alone. The science is out there with New England Health that it is 95% safer than smoking. So why group it with the tobacco act? Why classify it with smoking! Why make it less appealing to those who want to quit smoking by putting it in the same category? Why restrict access with one point of sale and make vapers wait to be served when you can pick up a pack of smokes at every servo and grocery store in the NT, but we have only ONE point of sale for vaping in the NT alone with a specialised vape store. The NT Government is making a precautionary law, but why do this when the independent studies clearly show the benefits. The Royal Physicians in the UK have detailed research studies on vaping that show the benefits. Why push people with emphysema who have quit smoking through vaping into a smoking area to vape. The NT has the highest smoking rates in the country, wouldn't it be great if the government stood behind vaping like in NZ or the UK as a means to help people quit instead of demonising it.