My evidence at the Senate Inquiry

Posted on May 3, 2024 By Colin

IN MY INTRODUCTORY SPEECH to the Senate Vaping Inquiry on 2 May 2024, I cover two major concerns about Australia’s vaping policy and comment on the blatant misinformation presented to the Inquiry.


1. The current de facto ban is not working and will not work with the proposed changes

Ninety percent of vapers have rejected the legal pathway and only a small number of doctors will prescribe nicotine. Supplies are very hard to access through pharmacies.

This has predictably created a thriving and dangerous black market controlled by criminal networks selling high nicotine, unregulated products. This has led to escalating violence as criminal gangs compete over market share.

The black market has created the sharp rise in youth vaping. It has made it easier for young people to access vapes, not harder.

History has shown that further enforcement and border control has minimal effect on the supply of illicit drugs. The only way to significantly reduce a black market is to replace it with a legal, regulated one.

The preferred model is that used in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and other Western countries. In these countries, vapes are sold as adult consumer products from licensed retail outlets with strict age verification, like cigarettes and alcohol. This would reduce youth access, improve access for adult smokers and greatly reduce the black market.

2. We haven’t got the balance right between protecting youth and helping adult smokers

In Australia, vaping policy is driven by a moral panic about the relatively small harms of vaping to a small number of young people

But we need to also remember that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and illness in adults and vaping is the most effective and by far the most popular quitting aid (2x NRT.

Vaping is a huge opportunity to improve public health

Policies that make adult vaping less accessible, less appealing, less effective will keep people smoking

3. Misinformation presented to this Committee

 I have been appalled at the misinformation presented to the inquiry by health organisations who must know better

 Here are some of the many examples

My written submission to the Inquiry

Mendelsohn C. Submission on Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024

Hansard for Hearing 2 May 2024 (page 9)

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