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Health Minister defends decision to ban e-cigarette imports

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The Health Minister has defended the government’s decision to ban imports of vaping products, citing evidence from the United States.

From July 1, the importation of e-cigarettes and nicotine-containing refills will be illegal in Australia.

Countries such as the UK and France have legalised vaping as an aid to quit smoking, and Australian doctors are describing an outright ban on the aid as a ‘death sentence‘.

Health Minister Greg Hunt refused to comment on whether e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes, instead telling Deborah Knight “vaping is not a safe product”.

Rather, the Health Minister argued, there’s evidence suggesting vaping is a gateway to smoking rather than a treatment.

“We’ve seen a doubling of the number of poisonings in Australia, primarily caused by imported products of dubious quality and safety.

“What we’re seeing … in the US is a 78 per cent increase in the number of high school children who are vaping.

“The FDA … has been deeply concerned about what they’ve described as an epidemic.

“Under the current administration of President Trump they have been very critical, they have seen what they believe is a measure which has not become a smoking cessation tool but it’s become a smoking commencement tool.”

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Legalise Vaping Australia campaign director Brian Marlow called in, accusing the Health Minister of spreading “mistruths and skewed information”.

“In the UK alone, the NHS credits vaping with helping 70,000 new people quit [smoking] every single year.

“Every single vaper that doesn’t smoke isn’t contributing to the $20 billion in tobacco tax venue that the government collects. I’ll let people do the math on that.”

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Image: Getty


Ban on importing e-cigarettes a ‘death sentence’ for vapers