The debate to legalise nicotine vaping in Australia is a curious one indeed.
What the current state of the debate represents, we assume, can only be put down to the laziness and lack of interest on behalf of key decision-makers to maintain Australia’s to date pretty outstanding public health policy record. This is underscored by Australia being one of the only 37 OECD members to ban nicotine vaping, alongside Turkey and Mexico.
On the one hand, for example, there is support across the political landscape, both federal and state, to legalise nicotine vaping. We have seen support from Liberal Party members, such as Amanda Stoker and Tim Wilson. We have seen support from Labor Party members, such as current candidate for Reid, Sam Crosby. We have also seen members of minor parties such as Australian Conservative’s Cory Bernadi, Liberal Democrat’s Aaron Stonehouse, and Peter Georgiou from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.
When we take a look at the various medical associations in Australia, again there is professional consensus that nicotine vaping should be legal. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, and the Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia, have both come out in support for the legalisation of nicotine vaping. In the international context, given we find respected health organisations, such as Public Health England and the UK’s National Health Service, actually promote vaping as a smoking cessation device, it’s no wonder that some of Australia’s own professional medical associations are in support of legal nicotine vaping.
Scratching a little deeper, we find that reputable Australian research institutes such as the CSIRO and the McKell Institute have found that vaping to be less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Again, when looking internationally, there are now over 60 scientific studies demonstrate that smoke-free products like vaping are less harmful than traditional cigarettes or are an effective way to quit for good.
And finally, taking a look at the various local media outlets that publish pro- vaping legalisation stories, they are numerous and speak to a range of different audiences. We’ve seen 2GB, news.com.au, the Spectator, Vice, the ABC, SBS, and the Daily Telegraph all publish or broadcast positive stories in relation to why nicotine vaping should be legalised.
In summary, it’s hard to know why the Australia’s decision-makers have sat on their hands for so long on this issue given the degree of support and the international context. What it does mean, though, is that there’s only one thing left for us to do: continue our good campaign to legalise nicotine vaping in Australia.