A Western Australian law academic has supported the legalisation and regulation of e-cigarettes to prevent the uncontrolled importing of the devices and nicotine liquid through online purchases.
In research published in the Journal of Law and Medicine, Notre Dame school of law lecturer Marilyn Krawitz said that the current approach is leading to poor quality imported e-cigarettes and has deprived the Federal Government of revenue that would be generated if the devices were made and sold in Australia.
Dr Krawitz argued that by legalising the sale of the devices, this will bring benefits for health, safety, protecting young people and government revenue.
In her research, she said that many Australians were importing e-cigarettes to use personally or sell on the black market, as is it currently illegal to sell them in Australia.
While devices that contained nicotine could have negative effects on health, e-cigarettes were less damaging because they did not contain the tar and other toxins in real cigarettes, Dr Krawitz said.
However, WA Health Minister Kim Hames said there was no evidence to suggest e-cigarettes were an effective tool for those wanting to quit smoking.
A WA Supreme Court test case after an appeal by the Health Department led to a ruling that nicotine-free e-cigarettes being sold by a Duncraig company were still in breach of tobacco laws as they were designed to look like a real cigarette.
While it is considered legal to import nicotine containing e-cigs and liquids for personal use, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes that contain nicotine in some states of Australia.
WA is one of three States where it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes. However in other states such as NSW e-cigarettes that contain no nicotine are becoming increasingly popular sellers in the convenience channel.
As previously reported by C&I Week, Queensland State Parliament voted in November to prohibit the sale and supply of electronic cigarettes to children, restrict their advertising display from 1 January 2015, while e-cigarettes will be banned in enclosed and outdoor smoke-free places