Vaping advocates in Australia are fighting for legalisation.
Anti-smoking initiatives in Australia have been gathering speed recently, as tobacco-related diseases still account for the largest number of preventable deaths, with a yearly toll of over 15,000 and two-thirds of Australian smokers dying from illness caused by the habit.
However, all nine of Australia’s health departments remain firmly against e-cigarettes, with the Therapeutic Goods Admission classifying them as toxic. With few harm reduction alternatives, the fight for legalisation carries on.
Vaping is not without its allies. In July, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) endorsed e-cigarettes as the best method for helping smokers quit for their physical and mental wellbeing:
“In the RANZCP’s view, an appropriate legislative framework for e- cigarettes and vaporisers is one where they are controlled proportionate to their risks while still allowing for individuals to have appropriate access to these products at a reasonable cost,” says their report.
This is also a development pointing to the burden e-cigarettes could lift from people suffering from mental health issues. The focus around smoking crackdowns has mostly settled on physical damage and lethal diseases like lung cancer. A healthier body can ease mental stresses, and the lower prices of vapour products for lower-income Australians are one of many benefits.
“People living with mental illness also experience significantly poorer physical health outcomes when compared to the general population too and smoking is the leading cause of this gap.”
They are the first Australian health organisation to lend vaping support publicly.
With Australia’s prominent trading partners and allies moving towards vaping, and newfound internal pressure, there remains some hope to see more change soon.