• April 18, 2024

Colin Mendelsohn Announces Retirement

 Colin Mendelsohn Announces Retirement
Colin Mendelsohn

After nearly a decade advocating for vaping as a tobacco harm reduction strategy in Australia, Colin Mendelsohn announced his retirement in Filter.

In his piece, Mendelsohn expressed distress at what he described as Australia’s “descent from its former status as a global leader in tobacco control to the current slow-moving train wreck.”

“Where vaping is seen by other Western democracies as a huge opportunity for public health, successive Australian governments have framed it as a threat,” he wrote. “The ensuing prohibitive regulations have neutralized the potential benefits and led to troubling and escalating unintended consequences.”

During his career, Mendelsohn endured heavy criticism from anti-vaping groups.  

“My evidence-based advocacy and the efforts of others are undermined with smears, insults and harassment,” he wrote. “I have repeatedly faced false accusations of being funded by Big Tobacco, including in national print media and on national radio.”

Despite his disappointment over Australia’s tobacco-control policy choices and the personal attacks, Mendelsohn, remained optimistic that tobacco harm reduction would eventually prevail.

“As I retire, my hope, still, is for a balanced, evidence-based approach to vaping in Australia,” he wrote. “It won’t come soon. The latest regulatory crackdown will need to run its course and fail again before much-needed reforms are possible.

“Then we will need to move beyond the echo chamber of Australia’s tobacco control group-think, if we’re to recognize vaping not as a ‘public health menace’ but as a powerful ally in the fight against tobacco-related harm.”