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Medical Experts Push For Australia to Legalize Vaping

E-cigarettes are against the law in Australia, but medical health experts are pushing for the law to change. They say that allowing smokers to choose e-cigarettes could save millions of lives.

Australian e-cigarette and vaping laws vary by state, but in most places in the country it is illegal to purchase, sell or personally possess electronic cigarettes or vaping devices that contain nicotine. This is despite the fact that overall medical opinion is that the nicotine in vaping devices is only 5 percent as harmful as the nicotine in tobacco cigarettes. That is because the nicotine delivery system is entirely different when smoking tobacco. Dr. Michael Keane from Melbourne’s Swinburne University says that nicotine itself is not especially harmful; it’s the burning tobacco leaf that generates toxins and causes damage to a smoker’s health. Vaping does not involve burning anything or creating smoke, and there is no tobacco involved.

Dr. Keane is just one of many Australian health experts who believe it is time for the country to legalize vaping. He points out the irony that tobacco cigarettes, which are known to cause great harm, are easily available to Australians, but the less harmful form of nicotine is banned.

Vaping involves the use of liquid that usually contains nicotine and flavoring. The device heats the liquid and produces vapor. The safety of long-term use of vaping devices is still unknown, but most medical experts agree that based on evidence, vaping is much less harmful to the health than smoking.

The bans and restrictions on vaping are largely due to the unknown factor, and the tendency to assume that if something is called a “cigarette” it must be bad. Today many people who may have started vaping with a “cigalike” e-cigarette have switched to more powerful vaping devices that produce more vapor and last longer without the need to recharge the battery. But the switch has nothing to do with wanting a bigger nicotine hit. Vaping either an e-cigarette or vaporizer delivers only as much nicotine as there is in the liquid. Some liquid has no nicotine at all.

As the vaping community continues to push away from traditional e-cigarettes and towards more powerful devices that look less like cigarettes and offer conveniences without harm to health, medical experts must contend with politicians as they attempt to explain the reality that no matter what a vaping device looks like, the liquid inside of it is what matters, and that liquid is far safer than tobacco in any form.

Electronic Cigarettes • April 5, 2017

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