There seem to be signs that the tide is turning once again in favour of electronic cigarettes.
A report yesterday told how New Zealand’s ban on electronic cigarettes with nicotine had come under fire from a visiting health professional from Australia, where a similar ban is in place.
Now, another report describes how Australia has been urged to approve the use of electronic cigarettes.
According to a story in the Daily Telegraph relayed by the TMA, Simon Breheny, director of the Legal Rights Project at the business economics think tank Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne, said the Therapeutic Goods Administration should recognize the benefits of electronic cigarettes, which Breheny described as possibly the “greatest tool in the fight against lung cancer”.
He said the use of the devices should be approved in recognition of the therapeutic benefit they offered to thousands of Australians who were trying to quit smoking.
The current law banned the sale of electronic cigarettes using claims that they have a therapeutic benefit, but studies had shown that they could save lives.
Breheny cited an article in the Journal of Public Health from August 2014 that found that electronic cigarette use could “reduce the number of cigarettes smoked and withdrawal symptoms”.
Another study in BMC Medicine in 2014 had said there was no doubt that smokers switching to electronic cigarettes substantially reduced the risk to their health.
Electronic cigarettes and other reduced risk products should be seen as the “latest in cutting-edge tobacco quitting devices, and the government should make room for life-saving innovations”, Breheny said.
British Columbia, Canada, will ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and prohibit e-cigarette use in buildings throughout the province by the end of 2015. The crackdown on vapor products is intended primarily to prevent minors from being exposed to such products and the unknown health effects they may have on users in the long term, according to Health Minister Terry Lake.
The new legislation bans the use of e-cigarettes inside all public buildings where traditional cigarette use is currently banned, including restaurants, bars, coffee shops, workplaces, hospitals, schools and movie theaters. The ban also covers vaping on all public and school properties, although health authorities are permitted to set aside specific areas for vaping as they have in the past for traditional smoking. Whether the use of e-cigarettes in parks is permitted will be determined by bylaws passed by local municipalities.
Vapers caught using e-cigarettes in restricted locations could face fines ranging from $58 to $575, while those caught selling e-cigarettes to minors risk a $575 fine.
The legislation also forbids businesses that sell e-cigarettes to advertise such products to youth, and those business that are caught selling e-cigarettes improperly could face administrative sanctions of up to $5,000.
New Zealand’s ban on electronic cigarettes with nicotine has come under fire from a visiting health professional from Australia, where a similar ban is in place.
According to a story by Josh Fagan for Stuff.co.nz, University of Queensland Professor Wayne Hall, who is due to make a presentation at an electronic cigarette symposium at the University of Auckland tomorrow, will join other experts in calling for the prohibition to be lifted.
Hall was quoted as saying that the law created an “absurd situation” where people were resorting to the black market to buy products that delivered nicotine in a less harmful way than did normal tobacco cigarettes.
“You can buy cigarettes wherever you like but you’re not allowed to buy something that’s probably a great deal safer, at least in the short term,” he said. “It does seem a pretty silly policy.”
Hall said the government needed to acknowledge the widespread use of electronic cigarettes by reversing the ban and regulating these products to ensure their safety.
The Ministry of Health’s senior tobacco control advisor, Brendon Baker, said the ministry was “stuck in the middle somewhat” between wanting to encourage people to quit smoking, but not having enough evidence to recommend electronic cigarettes as a safe alternative.
University of Auckland associate professor Chris Bullen agreed that more research was needed but said the current law was “frankly bizarre”.
“It’s not a particularly logical or helpful policy,” he said.
Nepal’s Minister for Health and Population Khaga Raj Adhikari said yesterday that the government had no plans to reverse a directive requiring cigarette manufacturers to increase the size of pack health warnings from 75 percent to 90 percent, presumably of the two main faces.
According to a story in the Himalayan Times relayed by the TMA, the government was standing firm in the face of ‘lobbying from various quarters’.
The new warnings are made up of graphic images taking up 70 percent of the surface area and written warnings in Nepali on 20 percent.
They are due to come into effect on May 16.
The number of Spaniards who said they started using cannabis in 2013 outnumbered those who said they took up smoking cigarettes, according to an Agence France Presse story citing a government study released last week.
About 169,000 Spaniards began using cannabis in 2013 compared to about 142,000 who started smoking tobacco, according to the latest annual health ministry study of drug use in Spain.
The number of cannabis users overall was slightly down but the number of people who use the drug on a daily basis increased.
‘The figures confirm the extension of the problematic pattern of consumption of this substance [cannabis],’ the head of the government’s National Drugs Plan, Francisco Babin, said in a statement.
The figures might suggest also that it is not wise to use taxes to render tobacco cigarettes unaffordable without allowing a substitute, such as electronic cigarettes, to take their place.
Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins has signed into law the country’s standardized tobacco packaging legislation.
According to an RTE story relayed by the TMA, cigarette manufacturers will be required, from May 2016, to produce cigarettes for the Irish market in standardized packaging.
From May 2017 only cigarettes in standardized packaging will be allowed to be sold on the Irish market.
Ireland is the second country after Australia to bring in such legislation.
In Australia, standardized packaging has been a requirement since December 2012.
Tobacco manufacturers have threatened to take the Irish government to court over the new requirements.