• May 26, 2024

Politicians Urged to Debate Vaping in Australia

 Politicians Urged to Debate Vaping in Australia
Photo: alexlmx

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) is urging Australian politicians to debate vaping in the runup the country’s federal election on May 21.

According to the advocacy group, Australian politicians who recognize the public health potential of vaping will be rewarded with votes, “yet most remain too scared to promote the world’s most effective smoking cessation tool.”

Nancy Loucas

“Australia’s political leaders need to pull their heads out of the sand,” said Nancy Loucas, executive coordinator of CAPHRA. “Annually, over 20,000 Australian smokers die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses, and 2.3 million still smoke. Alarmingly, however, nobody wants to seriously fix successive governments’ failure to reduce tobacco harm.”

Australia is the only Western democracy that requires a nicotine prescription to vape. Further, its Department of Health’s Draft National Smoking Strategy 2022–2030 proposes additional measures to prevent smokers from switching to safer nicotine products.

Loucas suspects that tobacco tax revenues are one of the reasons that vaping has been buried in the election debate. Ongoing increases to tobacco excise have made it the fourth-largest individual tax collected by Australia’s federal government at an estimated $15 billion per financial year, according to CAPHRA.

The group notes that nearly 70 countries have adopted regulatory frameworks on safer nicotine products. All of them have reported a dramatic decline in smoking prevalence since.

“Australia is light-years behind the U.S., U.K. and New Zealand, with some key Asian countries now looking to lift their failed vaping bans. If campaigning Australian politicians really want to save lives this election, well here is their best opportunity by simply a stroke of the pen,” said Loucas.