The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has welcomed comments by Colin Mendelsohn, associate professor and tobacco treatment specialist at the University of NSW, for saying that Australia needed to embrace vaping and eCigarettes.
Mr Mendelsohn said: “Australia needs to embrace the new paradigm of vaping and leave the prohibitionist, abstinence-only policy (“quit or die”) in the past where it belongs”.
AACS CEO Jeff Rogut said most Australians agreed with this sentiment.
“The fact is eCigarettes have helped millions of people around the world quit smoking traditional tobacco and is it mystifying that Australia is taking an alternate view of products with so much potential to have a positive impact on societal health,” he said.
“The view of the Department of Health and some major medical bodies in Australia is at odds with the only available evidence on eCigarettes as well as the views of the international medical community.
“It’s also a view at odds with those of the majority of the voting public. AACS research in this area shows Australians are overwhelmingly in support of legalising eCigarettes if they can help smokers quit. More than half of Australians feeling so strongly about the issue that it could influence their vote.”
According to research by AACS, 54% of Australians view the legalisation of eCigarettes as a potential vote-influencing issue. It also showed that 73% of Australians would support the legalisation of eCigarettes to help smokers quit.
Mr Rogut said: “Australians are being denied legal access to products that have the potential to save their lives for no credible reason. It makes no sense to provide smokers less alternatives. If we are serious about reducing the incidence of smoking we should be providing smokers more options”.
“The development of a framework to govern the legal sale of eCigarettes is urgently required to bring Australia in line with the rest of the world. It is time for the Government to show strong leadership on this issue or accept the blame for putting the health and lives of Australians at greater risk,” he said.