Vaping

Thank you for contacting me about the Regulation and Availability of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems – E-Cigarettes.

The medical and public health communities continue to have concerns about the safety of e-cigarettes. There is a debate about their safety as a smoking cessation aid, and concerns about the link between e-cigarette use in young people and increased smoking rates.

Of particular concern is the possible link between e-cigarette use and increased smoking rates, with a new study finding young people who use e-cigarettes or vaping are three times more likely to start smoking tobacco.

The World Health Organisation notes that “no specific figure about how much ‘safer’ the use of these products is compared to smoking can be given any scientific credibility at this time”, and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) points to concerns about a lack of empirical evidence and possible conflict of interest in the data you cite about the safety of e-cigarettes.

Experts point to the wide variation of the toxicity of contents among e-cigarettes, and research which indicates that e-cigarette liquids or vapour may also contain potentially harmful chemicals not present in smoke from tobacco cigarettes, as unresolved concerns.

Labor will continue to monitor emerging evidence around the long-term health effects and efficacy of e-cigarettes, and we will continue to follow the advice of the independent and expert Therapeutic Goods Administration.

In the meantime the recommendation from the NHMRC is that health authorities act to minimise harm until evidence of safety, quality and efficacy can be produced.

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