Australian experts endorse Peter Dutton’s view of vaping

Posted on March 19, 2024 By Colin

MORE THAN THIRTY AUSTRALIAN tobacco control and addiction experts wrote today to Mr Peter Dutton, leader of the federal Opposition, in support of his comments on vaping regulation.

In a recent interview on 2DayFM, Mr Dutton acknowledged that the current regulatory model is not working and supported regulating vapes like tobacco products. As a former police officer, he is very aware that “When we have banned things in the past, alcohol… it doesn’t work”.

Interview on 2DayFM with Peter Dutton

Mr Dutton will face intense opposition from Australia’s Public Health lobby which embraces the failed prescription-pharmacy model.

However, his view is supported by many Australian and overseas experts and is consistent with best practice

This week, the federal Parliament will debate Mark Butler’s controversial vaping Bill which aims to restrict vaping even further. It is expected that the Liberals, Nationals, PHON, and some independents will vote against the Bill.

The Bill will be rejected if the Greens oppose it, however, the federal Greens have not yet announced a position on vaping. The NSW and Tasmanian Greens have publicly supported legalisation and regulation of nicotine vaping products as adult consumer products.

The letter

The letter to Mr Dutton [available here] outlines how Australia’s de facto ban has handed control of the vaping market to criminal networks and has led to an escalating wave of criminal activity. The illicit market also sells freely to youth.

Less restrictive access to e-cigarettes in the United Kingdom and New Zealand has been associated with accelerated declines in smoking and improved public health outcomes.

In  New Zealand, for example,  adult smoking declined by an unprecedented 53.1% from 2019-2023 and the decline has been greatest in the younger adult age groups with the highest vaping rate. In Australia, smoking declined by 25% during the same period and some of this decline is due to illegal vapes replacing smoking.



An overwhelming majority of the Australian public also supports this approach. A recent Redbridge Survey found that 84% of adults agree/strongly agree that “Nicotine vaping products should only be available through licensed retail outlets to adults”.

The tide is turning

Opposition to the current medical model is growing with increasing support in Parliament. Two recent articles in The Australian [here and here] by health editor Natasha Robinson have provided strong support, concluding

“Australia stands on the brink of a public health disaster. The failure to regulate vaping in the past three to four years has created an illicit disposable vapes market that is rampant and looks to be impossible to stamp out. Vaping rates have exploded despite disposable vapes being made illegal. Organised crime controls the trade, lured by massive profits.”


Letter to the Hon Peter Dutton MP, 19 March 2024

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