Australia’s CMO Labels Vaping The Next Biggest Health Issue After COVID
Inaccurate claims by Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly, have been feeding an anti-vaping propaganda and policing both at a federal and state level, which will have a detrimental effect on local smoking rates.
Australia was already home to some of the world’s strictest vape regulations, making the products inaccessible to many smokers who could reduce harm by switching to relatively safer products. Executive Co-ordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates) Nancy Loucas, highlighted that efforts to reduce harm by enforcing further vape restrictions are misdirected.
“Much needed health resources should be directed towards providing Australians more urgent healthcare and elective surgeries, not on a pointless vaping witch hunt,” she said. Her comments follow recent actions by New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant who has threatened law-abiding retailers that if they sell illegal vapes containing nicotine, it could see them spend up to six months in prison, or fined up to $1,650, or both!
While last Summer vape shop owners across Western Australia had received a notice from the WA health department inspectors to cease operations within 14 days. In fact, in a letter sent on Wednesday July 20th, vaping activists from around the world called on Australia’s Ministry of Health, urging it to cease these ongoing attacks.
Misinformation about vaping
Meanwhile, NSW Health is publicly claiming that vaping ‘can have the same harmful chemicals found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer and bug spray’ and that ‘nicotine is a dangerous poison’.
Loucas highlighted that if this was the case, in neighbouring New Zealand where the products are widely endorsed as smoking cessation tools, there would be multiple cases of poisoning. “If vaping was as harmful as NSW Health purports, I’m sure in New Zealand where vaping is successfully replacing smoking, their hospitals would be full of poisoned vapers. In reality, not one New Zealander has reportedly died from vaping. That’s because product standards for nicotine vaping are high and consumers feel very safe to switch,” she said.
CAPHRA added that Australia is falling further and further behind in terms of adopting effective Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) policies to reduce the local smoking rates. “After a decade of a Liberal Government railing against vaping while the number of smokers barely moved, we hoped the new Labor Government would take a more progressive approach to reducing Australia’s stubbornly high smoking rate.”
“Sadly, all we’ve seen in recent months is a worsening vaping witch hunt. This approach is frankly going to kill Australian smokers desperate to quit because they’re not getting the support or reasonable access to switch to considerably less harmful nicotine vaping,” she said.