Australians who smoke have got the message to give up smoking via high taxes, plain packaging, smoke-free laws, public education campaigns, graphic warnings and more. But many people who smoke, love smoking, and many of those who attempt to quit have trouble doing so. There are at least 2.9 million Australians who smoke (2019 NDSHS).
Furthermore, many smokers benefit from nicotine. For example, nicotine consumers are less likely to suffer from neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, and it helps people with schizophrenia, ADHD and ulcerative colitis. It also helps concentration, memory, alertness, short term relief of anxiety and depression and helps with weight control.
Offering nicotine consumers pleasurable, low-risk alternatives will help immensely to restart Australia’s decline in smoking rates, which have largely stalled in recent years.
But the Therapeutic Goods Administration is patently incapable of managing consumer forms of nicotine consumption, as evidenced by the fact that they intend to medicalise nicotine based vaping. This would destroy the very aspects of THR products that make them so effective. To make them as bland and unappealing as Nicotine Replacement Therapy would make them equally ineffective.
Many years ago, “nicotine, prepared and packed for smoking” was carved out of the Australian Poisons Standard. It is time that was amended to “nicotine, prepared and packed for smoking or Tobacco Harm Reduction”.
The current situation created by legacy laws leaves many Australians who vape (use electronic cigarettes) with nicotine, face the threat of huge fines or jail merely for giving up smoking the “wrong way”. It also stymies the option to use products like Swedish snus, and makes heated tobacco products unavailable for retail sale.
Only our legislators can fix this mess created by legacy laws. The way to fix it is to carve nicotine & non-combustible forms of tobacco for Tobacco Harm Reduction out of the Poisons Standard and apply separate, proportionate regulations for managing THR options.
It’s time. Time to offer Aussies pleasant alternatives to smoking. Time to kick-start the decline in smoking rates. Time to improve the health of the nation. Time to make smoking obsolete.
You may have arrived here by following a QR code seen on the Holden Rodeo utility circling parliament house, bearing bright yellow banners and signs. To speak to the driver, Andrew Thompson, please call 0402 746 493 or email andrewthommo at gmail.com.