Greens strategy a major win for public health

Posted on February 28, 2023 By Colin

YESTERDAY CATE FAEHRMANN MP of the NSW Greens announced a plan to legalise nicotine vapes for people over the age of 18 in the state, recognising that the current prescription-only model  has failed. The current regulations have created a thriving black market which sells illegal vapes freely to young people.

The Greens have long been strong supporters of drug harm reduction and must be congratulated for their courageous support for tobacco harm reduction and making the right choice for public health

Unlike other western countries, there is hostile opposition to vaping nicotine in Australia despite the compelling scientific evidence and overseas experience that it save lives.

The only way to minimise the black market is to legalise and regulate vaping products. Under the NSW Greens’ plan, nicotine vapes would be sold as adult consumer products by licensed retailers with strict age verification to minimise youth access.

This will substantially reduce access for teens and increase availability for adult smokers, for whom vaping is a far less harmful substitute for deadly smoking.

The announcement by the NSW Greens firmly places vaping nicotine on the agenda as an issue for the NSW state elections on 25 March 2023

The plan recognises the overwhelming evidence that vaping is an effective quitting aid for adult smokers who are unable to quit with other methods. Vaping is around 95% less harmful than smoking and is a lifesaving alternative for smokers.

If introduced, the proposal would bring NSW into line with other western countries, where the fall in smoking rates has accelerated and the smoking rate is now lower than in Australia. It will lead to substantial positive public health benefits across the state and help to reduce social and financial inequalities due to smoking.

Sensible regulation will also allow the introduction of a recycling program for vapes. Currently most illegal vapes are discarded and end up in landfill, creating toxic waste and environmental damage. A recycling plan can only be introduced when the government takes control of vaping, rather than the black market.

Alarmist, fearmongering campaigns directed at youth have not worked. The Greens have proposed youth education, to provide the facts about vaping to minimise their uptake.

We would welcome a summit with all stakeholders with a range of views including vapers and smokers to develop a practical, pragmatic approach to save the lives of adult smokers while minimising youth access to vaping.


Regulating vaping in NSW. NSW Greens proposal. 27 February 2023

Press release. NSW Greens. 27 February 2023

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