The Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) welcomes Minister Mark Butler’s recent announcement about the Government’s strong stand on stamping out illegal vaping and reducing smoking, recognising the need to protect our children and young people as part of the new National Tobacco Strategy 2023 – 2030.
“Young people who vape are three times as likely to take up smoking. So is it any wonder that under 25s are the only cohort in the community currently recording an increase in smoking rates?” said Minister Butler.
“Vaping was sold to governments and communities around the world as a therapeutic product to help long-term smokers quit. It was not sold as a recreational product – especially not one targeted to our kids but that is what it has become.”
“Vaping is creating a whole new generation of nicotine dependency in our community. It poses a major threat to Australia’s success in tobacco control and the Albanese Government is not going to stand by and let this happen.” – Minister Mark Butler
“These reform measures will help protect the health of Australians, while reducing the pressure on our health system and critically it will help to achieve a reduction in smoking rates to 5% or less by 2030.”
Together with a united national coalition of public health advocates, ACOSH has long been sounding the alarm on e-cigarettes and vaping and the insidious influence on the youngest and most disadvantaged members of our community, calling for an end to supply as the priority.
“We are heartened that the government has heard both the evidence and the personal stories of the addiction of a whole new generation and are putting plans in place to end this once and for all”, said ACOSH Co-CEO Laura Hunter.
“In particular we are encouraged to see decisive action to stop the importation of nonprescription vapes, including banning disposable vapes, and to restrict the flavours and colours that a predatory industry has successfully used to lure our children and young people”.
“We hear daily of teenagers who have said that it was the lolly-like flavours and targeted designs that drew them in, never realising that they also contained high rates of nicotine that would quickly addict them and become a habit for life”.
“We also acknowledge the commitment to end the sales of vapes from retail settings which have mushroomed in every city and suburb, and gone a long way to normalising vaping culture. We understand that it will take all levels of government to work together to end this and applaud the Minister for leading the way”.
Confirmation that the upcoming budget will contain funds to support further education on both smoking and vaping, increased cessation support and the extension of the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program will ensure proper attention to key areas that ACOSH has previously identified as being integral to solving the problem.
“While we have yet to examine the detail of these announcements, the focus on strong action to support the medical prescription model, along with this suite of actions provides a breath of fresh air to counter a murky industry peddling smoke and mirrors at the expense of our health.”