Australia however, falls further behind.
The New Nicotine Alliance Australia welcomes the groundbreaking report from the UK Royal College of Physicians on the safety and public health benefits of nicotine electronic cigarettes, currently banned in Australia. This extensively researched paper by leading international experts collects all the latest evidence on e-cigarettes and unreservedly calls for all smokers to switch to vaping as a far safer option with less than 5% of the harm of traditional cigarettes. These findings directly contradict the stance taken by Australia’s leading medical and public health organisations.
The Royal College of Physicians has found that the “provision of the nicotine that smokers are addicted to without the harmful components of tobacco smoke can prevent most of the harm from smoking.”
In stark contrast, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians warns that widespread use of e-cigarettes may inadvertently re-normalise and re-glamorise smoking behaviour and once again promote a culture of smoking, while their British counterparts state that there is no evidence of this happening in the UK, where vaping is far more prevalent.
Cancer Council Australia also remains entrenched in fear, warning that widespread use of electronic cigarettes could undo decades of public policy work in Australia, and the Australian Medical Association continues to advocate for tougher restrictions on the availability of electronic cigarettes, despite the fact that the sale and possession of nicotine is already prohibited in Australia, which has some of the most draconian anti-vaping laws in the world.
Professor Simon Chapman claims researchers in the UK are unique in their “extreme enthusiasm” for e-cigarettes. Perhaps it is more the case that Tobacco Control advocates in Australia are unique in their “extreme enthusiasm” for trying to prevent smokers from switching to a safer alternative.
Dr Attila Danko, President of the NNA [AU] has urged Australia’s tobacco controllers to study this paper and get themselves up to date with the latest evidence. “Even if they cannot bring themselves to endorse and encourage e-cigarettes,” he says, “as the UK Royal College of Physicians has done, they should at least get out of the way of changing the laws and allow smokers to choose this far healthier option, at no cost to the Government, and for immense benefits to the health of Australians.”
The NNA [AU] hopes that the findings of the Royal College of Physicians will have a far-reaching impact on the debate surrounding electronic cigarettes and that opponents in Australia will begin to realise the potential of the new technology to eventually make smoking obsolete. General Practitioners now have more reason than ever to encourage their smoking patients to make the switch.
Read the full report by the Royal College of Physicians: Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction
by Dr Attila Danko. Jan 2017