A Tweet from Australian harm reduction veteran, Alex Wodak, got me thinking tonight.
Firstly, I agree that those lobbying govt for e-cig bans should do it in the open. This allows stakeholders to respond. Democracy does not thrive behind closed doors.
Open debate is important but the theme that lingered with me was signing our work, putting our name to our contributions. Alex was one of forty experts who signed a letter calling for the sale of dilute nicotine for e-cigarettes to be made legal in Australia. Another member of that group is a researcher from Cancer Council Victoria. He spoke to media in opposition to his employers policy. That takes courage.
Cancer Council and Quit Victoria are not separate organisations. They share the same physical address, email domain and their employees work for the same company. Quit is a program or business unit of Cancer Council Victoria.
This may come as a shock to Victorian MPs being pressured by the organisation to pass new laws banning e-cigarettes.
“In terms of electronic cigarettes, Quit Victoria and Cancer Council Victoria endorsed the measures in the proposed legislation. We believe this legislation will minimise the potential risks of e-cigarettes, particularly for children and adolescents, yet still allow the realisation of the potential benefits of e-cigarettes into the future.
As I have said before, I very much appreciate the input from the cancer council and also Quit in relation to this, and Todd Harper and Sarah White have been particularly helpful.
Mary Wooldridge MP - Hansard - Thursday, 1 September 2016
Dear Sarah White,
I write regarding a quote attributed to you that was recently published by at least three media outlets. It was included in news reports about two companies being taken to court for making false claims about e-cigarettes. You were quoted as saying “It’s terrific news the companies are being held to account”.
You were then quoted as saying:
In the UK some health groups promote e-cigarettes as being less harmful than regular ones.
But that’s only because in Britain there’s much stricter regulation regarding what goes into them, Dr White said.
I believe this statement to be false and misleading.
An investigation has revealed claims that Cancer Council Australia’s policy on e-cigarettes is “evidence-based and up-to-date” to be false and misleading. Detailed comparison of document versions from 2014 and August 2016 have shown no new evidence included in the 117 citations used to support their position to ban e-cigarettes. This is in contrast to major reports released in the UK since 2014 which have found that e-cigs are likely to have public health benefits in harm reduction compared to smoking tobacco.
This has serious implications for Australians as our state and federal governments are making laws based on outdated information.
Displaying e-cigarette products in vape stores will be illegal under laws being considered by the Victorian Government. This unpublicised change was uncovered during an investigation by Not Smoking Australia into the detail of the Tobacco Amendment Bill 2016.
Local Vape stores in Melbourne were surprised to hear that the Bill would make it illegal for them to display e-liquids, e-cigarettes, mods, tanks, coils or any other item falling under the new definition of ‘e-cigarette product’.
The Bill would also ban vape stores from showing e-cigarette products to customers who are unsure of what they want, or even mentioning the name of a brand to them.
Encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes will be banned under laws being considered by the Victorian Government.
E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco and do not produce smoke. They provide nicotine for inhalation in a vapour generated by heating a solution containing water, nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine and typically also some flavouring.
The Royal College of Physicians estimate that they are at least 95% safer than smoking tobacco and can help smokers quit. They are calling for promotion of the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking.
While some argue about the exact percentage, even their loudest detractors admit that e-cigarettes carry far less risk than combustable tobacco.
The Tobacco Amendment Act regulates e-cigarettes in the worst way possible by treating them the same as tobacco.
Good regulation protects consumers. This legislation protects tobacco sales from a new competitor. This Bill will cost lives by reducing the rate at which smokers switch to the far safer alternative.
This is our response to the Bill’s Second Reading speech read by Jill Hennessey in Victorian Parliament on Wed 25 May 2016.
Michael Mosley investigates the dramatic rise in e-cigarettes.
They’re everywhere these days, but what does the latest scientific research on them reveal? Michael reveals what e-cigarettes are really doing to your health.
- Are they really better for you than cigarettes?
- What is actually in them? Is passive vapour harmful?
- And can they really stop you from smoking?
Michael meets some of the scientists around the world studying them, asks a group of volunteers to try to give up smoking regular cigarettes using them, and even takes up ‘vaping’ himself, smoking an e-cigarette every day for a month to see the effects on his own health - no easy task for such a committed non-smoker.