Tougher stance needed to curb vaping dangers

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Australia has cracked down on smoking through strict packaging laws, bans on public spaces and advertising, taxes and point-of-sale restrictions in one of the country’s most successful health campaigns. It likely saved thousands of lives. But that success is being undermined by the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, especially among young people.

More than 2 million Australians are believed to have vaped using e-cigarettes. These devices use electricity to heat liquids and deliver aerosol vapors composed of a variety of chemicals, including food flavorings, preservatives, synthetic coolants, and especially nicotine. Disposable e-cigarette packaging often looks like a box of lollipops, with bright colors and designs that disguise the product as a pen, highlighter or USB stick. Products can come in flavors such as fruit and chocolate.

More than 2 million Australians are believed to have vaped using e-cigarettes.cedit:Associated Press

In Australia, nicotine-free vaping products are considered consumer products and are legal for adults in most states and territories, including Victoria. In October, the federal government cracked down on products containing nicotine. They are now only available legally from pharmacies or by personal importation for adults with a prescription.

But teens have easy access to vaping products. They have become so popular that some schools have had to take steps to discourage students from vaping, such as installing CCTV or vaping detectors, or locking bathrooms during recess.

It’s not just schools that sound the alarm. Chris Moy, vice-president of the Australian Medical Association, recently said the case for banning non-nicotine e-cigarettes was strong, describing them as “the pinnacle of aggressive, horrible, malicious marketing to children”.

This view is supported by Australian National University research commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Health, which found that e-cigarettes “caused a new generation of users to become addicted” and made young people three times more likely to smoke. The findings suggest that nicotine e-cigarette use increases the risk of adverse health outcomes, especially among adolescents, including addiction, intoxication, seizures, trauma and burns, and lung damage.

One aspect of e-cigarettes attracting support is its role in helping people quit smoking. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some people do find it beneficial. But according to the Australian National University research, the evidence to support this view is weak, and doctors have been advised to encourage patients to use other methods to quit smoking.

Decades of rigorous research into tobacco products have clearly demonstrated that smoking is addictive and dangerous, and that smoking causes cancers affecting the lungs, throat, mouth, stomach, liver, pancreas, bladder, and more. Medical research has also conclusively shown that inhaling smoke from other people’s cigarettes and being in an environment where smoking is prevalent can cause cancer.

While the evidence for e-cigarettes is unclear, the research to date should raise plenty of red flags. Last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission submitted a submission to the government saying the Therapeutic Goods Administration should regulate all personal vaping products, not just those containing nicotine, to avoid regulatory gaps.

age Can only agree. Currently, with minimal regulation, non-nicotine e-cigarette use is on the rise and is clearly entering the hands of many young people. The government is right to limit who can carry nicotine, but there is growing concern that there is a large black market that circumvents the new law. The fight to limit cigarettes has been going on for decades. The government should not make the same mistake with e-cigarettes.

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