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  • Writer's pictureKay Savage

Unveiling Australia's Vaping Crisis

According to UQ Professor Gartner, Australian laws are failing to prevent young people from using nicotine vaping products.


According to Professor Coral Gartner from the University of Queensland's School of Public Health, Australian laws are failing to prevent young people from using nicotine vaping products (NVPs).


The best way to reduce youth vaping and achieve a smoke-free Australia is to have meaningful consultation with those who have lived experience.

Despite laws prohibiting the possession and use of NVPs without a prescription, Professor Gartner argues that many people are unwilling to comply with these regulations. At the same time, retailers continue to sell the products under the counter, including to children.


"The best way to reduce youth vaping and achieve a smoke-free Australia is to have meaningful consultation with those who have lived experience," Professor Gartner said.


While the law was intended to support those trying to quit smoking and protect young people from taking up vaping, youth vaping has continued to rise in Australia, leading to what the Therapeutic Goods Administration has described as "widespread non-compliance" among consumers.


Many consumers feel that it makes no sense to have greater restrictions on e-cigarettes compared to tobacco products. There is also insufficient enforcement of the law, according to Professor Gartner.


As a result, Professor Gartner believes a different approach may be needed. She suggests that effective laws to protect people from taking up vaping while also considering those who could benefit from using NVPs to quit smoking can only be developed through consultation with those affected. These include people who already vape and smoke, young people, parents and researchers.


Professor Gartner also highlights the disparities in regulation between NVPs and tobacco products and calls for a more holistic approach. The Federal Government has announced plans to ban the importation of all e-cigarette products except those supplied by pharmacies. However, there are currently no plans to reduce the availability of tobacco cigarettes.


"A more holistic approach would be to also restrict how and where tobacco can be sold, with a plan for eventually making Australia a smoke-free country," Professor Gartner said.


The findings of Professor Gartner's research have been published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review found online at www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dar.13666


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