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July 23, 2019 2 min read

Australia is leading the world in tobacco reduction policies with an introduction of plain packaging and tax hikes, despite this the decline in smoking rate has slowed down in the past 5 years. As such there is huge support to introduce a harm reduction policy by switching existing smokers to vaping and complementing the existing strategies.

Several countries and governments such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the European Union have recently endorsed vaping as a tobacco harm reduction measure, which has seen an effective decline in smoking rates. As such there is pressure on Australian politicians to help support this change by ending the de facto ban on nicotine, and legalizing nicotine and vaping productions.

Large population studies in both the UK and US have found smokers who use vaping to quit have a significantly higher smoking cessation rate. While Japan and Sweden have recently adopted “heat not burn” products which reduces the harmful chemicals inhaled when compared to smoking. At Vape Nation we are here to provide an unbiased overview of smoking versus vaping. The following are some benefits and concerns with Australia endorsing Vaping.

- Benefits -

Quitting smoking is difficult: Several respected studies have shown smokers switching to vaping has helped them quit smoking when compared to quitting cold turkey and it is shown to be twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine patches, gum etc.). Some studies suggest that vaping is not an effective quitting aid, however a review of it has found flaws in the way the study was conducted and thus unreliable conclusions from it.

Safety of vaping: Vaping is not risk free however it carries substantially less risk than smoking, as little as 5%. Smoking releases a substantial amount of tar, carbon monoxide and 7000 toxic chemicals, in contrast vaping releases a fraction of this some studies suggesting as little as 1%.

 

- Arguments Against -

Precautionary measure: Vaping has only been around for about 15 years and the long term effects is unknown.

Gateway into smoking: There is a growing concern of young people who start vaping will transition into smoking. Although teens who try vaping are more likely to try smoking, there is no compelling evidence that one causes the other. To best explain this phenom, ice cream sale rates are decreasing and the murder rate is also decreasing at the same pace. Therefore, a decrease in ice cream sale cause a decrease in murder rates. We obviously know this is not true, even though they are both decreasing they are not correlated and there are obviously other factors independently affecting both.

There is some evidence showing that countries with vaping available show a decline in youth smoking rates, in some case even faster.

Uptake of vaping by non-smokers: Surveys in other countries have found that “current use” (less than 30 days ago) by young adult and adult non smokers is rare. Australian studies and surveys have also found vaping is mainly confined to former and non smokers.

 

- Medical opinion on vaping is currently divided -

There is a growing body of evidence from Australian and overseas study suggest that legalizing and regulating vaping will overall improve public health.

 

Read more at:

https://mckellinstitute.org.au/app/uploads/McKell-Institute-Vaping-in-Australia.pdf


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