E-cig ban to remain

| February 3, 2017

Australia photoDoctors in Australia are warning that more smokers will die and suffer preventable diseases after the country’s medicines regulator decided to maintain a ban on electronic cigarettes delivering nicotine, according to an AAP story published by 9news.com.au.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration rejected an application to exempt nicotine from the Schedule 7 dangerous poisons list, at concentrations of 3.6 percent or less.

In an interim decision yesterday, the regulator said the ban would remain, arguing that electronic cigarettes could have a negative impact on tobacco control and might re-normalise smoking.

The decision has been labelled disappointing by electronic cigarette campaigners who believe the devices provide a safer alternative to tobacco.

“There will be more potentially preventable deaths and diseases,” Dr. Alex Wodak, president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, was said to have told AAP.

“Surely any of us would want to see a heavy-smoking loved one switch from smoking to e-cigarettes and reduce their risk and maybe quit.”

E-cigarette devices are legal in Australia but the sale and possession of the nicotine used in them is illegal.

Dozens of academics and researchers had written to the regulator in support of the application by the New Nicotine Alliance, calling for the ban to be lifted, including top Cancer Council researcher Ron Borland.

But opponents argued big tobacco would use the devices as another opportunity to get people hooked and normalise smoking again.

University of Sydney public health professor Simon Chapman said the TGA’s decision was commendable in light of recent evidence raising serious concerns about the dangers of nicotine.

He said Australia had achieved one of the lowest smoking rates in the world without e-cigarettes.

“The tobacco industry will unanimously condemn this decision – this is all anyone needs to know about why it should be welcomed,” he said.

But the Liberal party backbencher James Paterson told AAP that parliament should act to legalise e-cigarettes.

“The TGA’s decision today means the ball is firmly in the parliament’s court,” he said.

“Public health in Australia could be measurably improved if smokers were able to switch to e-cigarettes, as they are in many other similar countries.”

Category: Breaking News

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