• May 20, 2024

Nicotine ban ‘unethical’

electronic cigarettes photo
Photo by Vaping360

A group of leading health experts has called the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) recent interim decision effectively to ban nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes ‘unethical’ and ‘unscientific’, according to a story by Chloe Booker for the Sydney Morning Herald.

The group says the TGA has exaggerated the dangers of electronic cigarettes while ignoring their ‘substantial health benefits’.

The group of 16 academics, researchers and doctors supported an application to the TGA to allow the use of nicotine at concentrations of 3.6 percent or less in electronic cigarettes as a tobacco harm reduction measure.

However, the TGA made an interim decision in February to continue its ban on nicotine for use in electronic cigarettes. It is due to make a final decision on March 23.

In response, the group has made a submission calling the ban ‘unethical’ and ‘unscientific’.

It has pointed out what it believes are ‘fundamental flaws’ in the TGA’s reasoning, which they say is not supported by evidence or overseas experience.

A major concern for the TGA is that electronic cigarettes could provide a gateway for young people to take up smoking, but the group says this is ‘unjustified and overblown’ as overseas experience shows the opposite – that young people are vaping instead.

The group pointed to 2014 research that estimated six million Europeans had quit smoking by using electronic cigarettes and a review that had found vaping was at least 95 percent safer than smoking.

Ideology was behind the ban and why Australia’s most prominent health organisations, such as the Cancer Council and Heart Foundation, supported it, University of New South Wales Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn said.

“It’s political, it’s emotional, it’s ideological – it’s ‘we’ve always done it this way’,” he said.

“They are finding little problems in the research and are basically throwing smokers under the bus.”