The Australian Council on Smoking and Health highlighted the protection of young people as the key focus in their submission to the TGA consultation on e-cigarettes.
Last November, ACOSH welcomed Health Minister Mark Butler’s announcement that the Government would begin a public consultation process through the TGA on nicotine-containing e-cigarette products.
In the announcement, Minister Butler spoke of the need for Government action to “move the dial” on e-cigarette regulation.
In its submission to the consultation, ACOSH endorsed Option 4 for stronger border controls, which would set the dial at maximum protection for young people.
“This can best be achieved by the government acting to declare all vaping products (NVPs and non-nicotine products and devices) prohibited imports through amendments to Australian Customs Regulations,” said Noni Walker Acting Chief Executive, ACOSH.
In addition to the import ban, other reforms to NVPs including limiting flavours to tobacco only, removing access to disposable NVPs, generic packaging for NVPs, and reducing the maximum nicotine concentration, are also supported by ACOSH.
The commitment of all Australian governments to maintaining a precautionary approach to e-cigarettes is supported strongly by ACOSH given increasing research into the harms of e-cigarette use and evidence that e-cigarette use by young people can be a gateway to smoking and nicotine addiction.
It’s a historical anomaly that tobacco is available as a consumer product. This is a consequence of tobacco harms only being identified many years after its uptake – with disastrous consequences for public health. But with the right course of action following the TGA consultation, the Australian Government can ensure we don’t follow the same path with e-cigarettes.