Thursday, 1 June 2023

Members statements



David LIMBRICK (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (09:44): Yesterday was World No Tobacco Day. This has coincided with the rollout of a campaign so short-sighted and backwards it is difficult to imagine it could be achieved merely through ignorance and naivety. I am of course talking about the misguided federal policy to try and ban vaping, mirrored at the state level with a misinformation campaign on vaping. Yesterday was a day to contemplate the health impact on the 1 billion people globally who currently smoke tobacco.

The federal health minister Mark Butler noted yesterday that 12 per cent of the adult population still smoke. This figure should be considered an embarrassment, particularly when compared with countries such as New Zealand, England and Sweden where tobacco harm reduction has been embraced and smoking rates have fallen dramatically.

Let me be absolutely clear: vaping is less harmful than smoking. It has the potential to displace smoking completely. Listening to governments and public health lobbyists in Australia, you would think that vaping is by far the most dangerous public health risk in the country. Governments around this country are currently doubling down on a strategy that guarantees not only failure but a flourishing black market run by organised crime. Until we accept reality and allow adults to purchase nicotine vapes legally as a consumer product, we will continue to make a mess of this policy area.