A two-year wait until an Australian National University (ANU) scientific study into vaping is completed and leads to a change in government policy could see at least 38,000 Australians die unnecessarily.
Legalise Vaping Australia Campaign Director Brian Marlow said instead of waiting for two years and 38,000 deaths to complete yet another review of the evidence, Australia could follow virtually every other advanced nation and legalise vaping today and save lives immediately.
“The evidence is clear – vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes and is proven to be an effective smoking cessation tool. Further, there is no compelling evidence that vaping is a pathway to traditional tobacco use.
“While the ANU is a highly regarded and trusted research institution, stakeholders are concerned about the highly secretive nature of the study and the fact that there has been no transparency, independent oversight or indeed any public consultation around the proposed study.
“The information revealed in the Senate this week is the first detail made public since the ANU study was commissioned last year and it has transpired that Greg Hunt did not even provide any terms of reference to the ANU before granting them the $750,000 to undertake the study.
“How can taxpayers and voters have any confidence in Minister Hunt if he is handing out grants without any terms of reference, and there is growing concern that Greg Hunt is simply using this unusually lengthy study as a cynical attempt to kick the vaping can down the road.
“How many Australians is Greg Hunt prepared to see die while he dithers, delays and deliberately frustrates progress on vaping?
“Is Greg Hunt seriously that addicted to the $17 billion in tobacco excise that he is prepared to see people die rather than introduce a proven harm reduced alternative to burnt tobacco products?
“Australia’s 2.6 million daily smokers and their families deserve much faster progress on vaping than Greg Hunt is providing.
“Many quiet Australians thought the Morrison Government they voted for would provide the nation with strong, pragmatic and sensible leadership, yet instead we have Ministers like Greg Hunt who are either unwilling or unable to stare down unelected ideological public servants and refuse to challenge the irrational and frankly dangerous policy propositions they advocate,” Mr Marlow said today.