South Australia is taking anti-vaping policy to a new level, according to a note posted on the website of the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association.
The Tobacco Products Regulation (E-cigarettes and Review) Amendment Bill 2018 currently passing through parliament (the bill has been passed by the lower and upper houses and is back in the lower house for a final vote next month) is set to be the harshest in Australia.
Under the proposed law, which would ban in-store vaping and taste-testing, South Australia would become the first jurisdiction in Australia to ban the sale of vaping products online, by mail, phone, email or fax.
The Association points out that the proposed laws protect the tobacco industry from competition and make it even harder for smokers to transition to vaping, a much less harmful alternative.
‘Smokers in South Australia are already struggling to quit,’ the note says. ‘Smoking rates have not changed since 2012 when 16.7 percent of SA adults smoked, according to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. ‘In fact, adult smoking rates increased … from 14.9 percent to 16.5 percent from 2016 to 2017.’
Given these figures, the Parliament might be expected to be doing everything it could to help smokers quit.
‘Instead, SA is attempting to destroy the vaping industry and make it harder for smokers to access safer products,’ the note said.
‘Two thirds of industry sales within South Australia are online according to Australia’s vape advocacy peak body, Australian Vaping Advocacy, Trade and Research (AVATAR). More than half of all vendors based in South Australia do not operate a physical retail store and rely entirely on online sales.
‘It is hard to see how this could have any possible benefit for public health.’