GPs warn vaping is ‘trading one public health disaster for another’

The Heart Foundation’s chief executive David Loyd said the country was at a “sliding doors moment” as he called for the government to hold the line, including by toughening import controls and requiring a regulated source of vaping products.

“Australia is already awash with black market vapes and e-cigarettes because there is a lack of regulation and enforcement. We need to act now and stop sleepwalking into what could potentially be one of the greatest public health disasters of the 21st century,” he said.

‘This is simply ‘smoking 2.0’.′

Heart Foundation CEO David Lloyd

The Heart Foundation’s submission said the routine supply of vapes to young people was “directly contributing to a new generation becoming addicted to nicotine, a chemical which is known to cause increased blood pressure, heart rate, flow of blood to the heart and a narrowing of the arteries”.

The foundation supported banning all vape flavours except tobacco, requiring plain packaging, reducing the nicotine concentration in products and prohibiting disposable devices.

They argue the government would never be able to stop young people from using the products under current conditions because a licensing framework is the only way to stop the booming black market.

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Both are supporters of the Responsible Vaping Australia movement led by British American Tobacco. A spokesman for BAT said it did not make a submission to the TGA.

The Pharmacy Guild, which represents community pharmacies, rejected the consumer model and called for limited vape flavours to reduce appeal, as well as plain packaging and banning disposable products.

“The guild recognises that [e-cigrarettes] are not the first line agents to aid smoking cessation and that there is little to no evidence to support their effectiveness,” its submission said.

“However, in the interest of public safety, the guild supports the proposed reforms to tighten the regulations surrounding [e-cigarettes] in an aid to reduce the black-market sale, unauthorised supply, and adolescent use of such products.”

It said the best way forward was to ensure vapes remained regulated as therapeutic goods while the government worked with health professionals to regulate broader black market supply in Australia, including illicit retail sales.

Butler will meet on the issue with state and territory health ministers once the TGA review is finalised.

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