A protester outside the parliament building of the Australian state of Victoria recently carried a sign saying: ‘bullied for smoking bullied for quitting’. The protester was one of dozens of vapers who had gathered on the steps of the building to vent their anger at MPs who had introduced new laws regulating electronic cigarettes, according to a story by Benjamin Preiss for The Age.
It is currently illegal in Australia to sell electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine. But the new law bans the sale of electronic cigarettes to young people and it places restrictions on advertising these devices. And it extends bans on the display, sale and use of tobacco products to vapor devices.
Paul McNamara, who owns two vaping product stores, was quoted as saying that the new laws would make it impossible properly to demonstrate the electronic cigarette devices in his shops. He said the government was making it “as hard as possible” for smokers to give up cigarettes.
The Sex Party MP Fiona Patten, who spoke at the rally in support of vaping, said the new legislation needed to be reviewed. Let’s protect children but let’s protect adults by allowing them to use vapor products, she said.
And the University of New South Wales associate professor Colin Mendelsohn, who attended the rally, said vaping was an effective and safe way to help smokers quit. “It’s a unique technology that works much better than other treatments,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sydney University public health emeritus professor Simon Chapman said vaping was almost certainly less dangerous than was smoking. “That’s because almost anything is safer than cigarettes,” he said. “They are the Mount Everest of danger.”
But Chapman said that too little was known about the possible health problems that electronic cigarettes might cause. “Given we don’t know what the long-term consequences are going to be, it is a concern,” he said.