The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the CSIRO report released yesterday indicates that the time has come to legalise nicotine e-cigarettes in Australia.
The E-cigarettes, smoking and health literature review indicates that e-cigarettes can assist some smokers in quitting traditional cigarettes, and provides evidence for a range of health improvements when conventional tobacco smokers make the switch.
Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the ARA, said the access to less harmful alternatives is a nobrainer for Australians, and the Government should get on with regulating these products in Australia.
“The findings in this report show support for the ARA’s position – e-cigarettes and other vaping products can be used as a quitting aid for smokers,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“As e-cigarettes are less harmful, the CSIRO report showed health improvements in smokers who used e-cigarettes instead of conventional cigarettes.”
The ARA believe that without access to less-harmful alternatives, many smokers will continue to find it difficult to quit.
“According to the CSIRO’s findings, it is clear that e-cigarettes are preferred by some smokers as a cessation method as trials have found nicotine e-cigarettes are more effective at reducing conventional smoking than nicotine free e-cigarettes or no e-cigarettes,” Mr Zimmerman said.
The ARA believe that allowing the regulated sale of nicotine e-cigarettes will also satisfy the CSIRO’s calls for further monitoring and research.
“When restrictions force consumers to import these products, rather than purchase them legally at home, consumers are exposed to the risk of unregulated and potentially unsafe products,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“The Government should listen to the CSIRO and alleviate concerns about unregulated usage by allowing retailers to sell nicotine e-cigarettes legally. This will provide regulators and authorities the opportunity to conduct further studies and address any fears.”
Along with the CSIRO’s report, a Crosby Textor poll conducted in June found almost 50% of Australians and more than two-thirds of smokers support the legalisation of e-cigarettes and personal vaporisers in Australia.
“The Crosby Textor poll showed that 70% of Australians and 67% of smokers agreed that vaporisers were a way to completely phase out cigarette smoking in Australia,” Mr Zimmerman said. “The CSIRO’s report provides further justification for the Government to show leadership in improving the health of smokers by lifting the restrictions on e-cigarettes.”
The CSIRO’s report follows the recent Inquiry into the Use of Electronic Cigarettes and Personal Vaporisers in Australia. The ARA made a submission to the Inquiry, calling for the legalisation of these harm-reduction alternatives, as current restrictions on the sale of nicotine-based vaping products may lead to consumers importing these products from overseas or turning to black markets.
“The number of people who are already importing nicotine-based e-cigarettes from overseas is growing, which translates into a significant loss of revenue to overseas retailers,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“Allowing retailers the opportunity to sell these harm reduction alternatives is a win-win, as it provides health benefits for the community, and economic benefits, including a reduced burden on the health system and crucial support for local retailers.”