$10,000 fine for quit attempt

| July 12, 2018

Health authorities in Queensland, Australia, are targeting people who vape as an alternative to smoking tobacco, according to a story by Helen Spelitis for the Queensland Times.

Spelitis said that threatening letters sent out by Queensland Health had stated that products had been seized at the border, and had warned that importing liquid containing nicotine could attract a $10,000 fine.

In Queensland, nicotine liquid is considered to be a poison and only those with a prescription, or licence, are legally entitled to possess the product.

Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales, Dr. Colin Mendelsohn, is scathing about the Queensland Health approach.

He said vaping using nicotine liquid was an important tool for people to quit smoking more harmful tobacco and the products should be made available to encourage people to give up smoking.

“People who are trying to quit smoking are being frightened by Queensland Health,” said Mendelsohn, who is chairman of the charity, Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association, and a prominent campaigner on the issue.

“Vaping is a life-saving harm reduction option for people who are addicted and can’t quit.”

Mendelsohn added that combustible tobacco, not nicotine, was the enemy.

“I have seen so many people unable to quit and repeatedly come back,” he said. “They’ve tried the Champix, they’ve tried patches and nothing works. This works.

“If you can help a person quit smoking that’s the most important health intervention they’ll ever have in your life.”

Meanwhile, a Queensland Health spokesperson was quoted as saying that e-cigarettes presented a risk and could encourage people, particularly young people, to take up smoking; or could make smoking appear more socially acceptable.

“People seeking to access unapproved products containing liquid nicotine for therapeutic use can only do so under the Special Access Scheme or the Personal Importation Scheme of the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” the spokesperson said.

“Under these schemes, the prescribing doctor would need to follow requirements prescribed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.”

Queensland Health’s concerns are shared by Australia’s major medical body, the Australian Medical Association.

AMA President Dr. Tony Bartone said electronic cigarettes had the potential to normalise smoking without addressing the issue that “tobacco smoking has significant health consequences”.

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Category: Breaking News, People, Vapor

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