Labor denounces big tobacco's push to overturn Australia's vaping ban
The Transparency Project E-cigarettes Labor denounces big tobacco's push to overturn Australia's vaping ban
Plibersek says still no evidence to support e-cigarettes and âbig tobacco only cares about creating new markets and increasing their profitsâ
Federal Labor has slammed big tobaccoâs push to overturn Australiaâs vaping ban, saying the government should not be listening to an industry that âonly cares about creating new markets and increasing their profitsâ.
But vaping proponents have dismissed what they say is a âpervasive mythâ that the push for e-cigarettes is a big tobacco conspiracy, saying the industry plays only a minor role in what is largely a grassroots consumer movement.
Guardian Australia revealed this week that Philip Morris International, the tobacco giant, is lobbying government MPs against Australiaâs effective ban on vaping, as it seeks to grow sales of its e-cigarette products to 42% of global revenue by 2025.Philip Morris lobbying on e-cigarettes hidden from Australian public Read more
The companyâs lobbying has been hidden from the public because of Australiaâs weak lobbying oversight regime, which is completely blind to corporations that use their own in-house lobbyists to influence government policy.
The health minister, Greg Hunt, remains resolute that the ban will not be lifted.
âThe overwhelming medical advice and evidence is that itâs likely to lead to the uptake of smoking and we cannot support that,â a spokesman said this week.
Pressure from within Coalition ranks, however, last month prompted the government to announce a new inquiry into the safety and efficacy of e-ciga rettes.
The deputy opposition leader, Tanya Plibersek, said Labor accepted the existing expert advice that e-cigarettes should be banned âuntil evidence of their safety, quality and efficacy can be producedâ. Plibersek accused the government of outsourcing âpublic health policy to big tobacco lobbyistsâ.
âInstead of listening to big tobacco, Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt should listen to their own experts and maintain the ban on nicotine e-cigarettes,â Plibersek told Guardian Australia.
âBig tobacco isnât moving into e-cigarettes because it cares about peopleâs health, theyâre doing it because their existing customers keep dying from terrible smoking-related diseases. Big tobacco only cares about creating new markets and increasing their profits.â
But backers of vaping say the tobacco industry plays a small role in promoting vaping. One of the key voices calling for e-cigarette legalisation, a University of New South Walesâ associat e professor, Colin Mendelsohn, said it was a âpervasive mythâ that big tobacco was behind vaping products.
âIt would be a public health tragedy if the uptake of vaping was undermined because of the false belief that vaping was a tobacco industry plot,â he said. âVaping is a far safer alternative to smoking and has helped many millions of smokers to quit.â
Mendelsohn said vaping devices had been invented outside of the industry and were a disruptive force to existing players. He said tobacco companies were now simply trying to catch up, and that their share of the vaping market remained low.
The academic is a tobacco treatment specialist who chairs the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association, which had vaping companies as its founding sponsors.Smoke and mirrors? Experts divide over Australia's e-cigarettes ban Read more
The Therapeutic Goods Administration classes nicotine as a dangerous poison and it is an offence to sell the chemical unless a permit has been issued by state or territory authorities. This ban has not stopped the uptake of vaping in Australia.
Australiaâs position on e-cigarettes is at odds with other comparative developed nations. New Zealand, Canada and the US all allow vaping. Its proponents point to a report from the Royal College of Physicians in the UK which found it had âhuge potential to prevent death and disability from tobacco useâ.
But all of Australiaâs health bodies say evidence about the long-term effects of vaping, and its value as a quitting aid, is not yet available. The National Health and Medical Research Council, the chief medical officer, the Australian Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners and others all say more long-term research is needed to understand the potential harms.Topics
- The Transparency Project
- Labor party
- Australian p olitics
- Business (Australia)
- Tobacco industry
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