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  • A senate inquiry is set to be launched that will look into the use of vaping products.
  • A Select Committee on Tobacco Harm will be created to investigate “tobacco reduction strategies” by looking at how vaping has been treated in countries like the U.S. and New Zealand and the impact of vaping products on youth.
  • The sale of e-cigarettes with nicotine is currently illegal in Australia unless you have a doctor’s prescription.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

A senate inquiry into nicotine vaping products is on the way.

A Select Committee on Tobacco Harm Reduction is set to be established to look into “tobacco reduction strategies”, particularly around nicotine vaping.

The committee will inquire into factors like how nicotine vaping products have been treated in countries like New Zealand, the European Union, the UK and the U.S., and the impact of vaping on smoking rates.

It’s also going to assess the “evidence of the impact of legalising nicotine vaping products on youth smoking and vaping rates” and ways Australia could reduce youth smoking and vaping.

The committee is set to present its final report by December 1, 2020.

In Australia, it’s illegal to sell e-cigarettes with vapouriser nicotine across all states and territories. However, you can legally get them if you have a prescription from your GP.

In June, Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement “around the world we have seen strong evidence of non-smokers being introduced to nicotine through vaping for the first time”, with the government set to ban the importation of nicotine-based e-cigarettes from January 1 2021.

“This will help prevent the introduction of non-smokers to nicotine via vaping,” Hunt said at the time.

The National Retail Association (NRA) slammed the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for only allowing vaping products to be used with a prescription, describing it as “ridiculous”. With the new senate inquiry being announced, however, the NRA has welcomed it with open arms.

“The TGA ruling would damage tens of thousands of small retailers across Australia who rely on tobacco sales to support their businesses, but who want access to a less harmful alternative,” NRA spokesperson David Stout said in a statement.

“It makes no sense whatsoever that retail businesses are permitted to sell cigarettes but that they should be prevented from selling less harmful alternatives that help people quit smoking.

“Almost every other OECD country permits the use of nicotine vaping and its legalisation is supported by the World Health Organisation. It makes no sense to make it even harder for consumers to switch from cigarettes, while having people clogging up doctors surgeries to get prescriptions.”

The organisation is also keen to participate in the consultation process.

“The very fact that the TGA has decided to allow nicotine vaping is recognition that it is a safer option for smokers. We hope that this senate inquiry provides an opportunity to reset and properly analyse the facts,” Stout added.

“We look forward to outlining the case as to a sensible and consistent outcome would be to allow the sale of smoke-free nicotine in the same places and with the same legal restrictions as currently applied to cigarettes and tobacco.”

The TGA reported findings from the Victorian Poisons Information Centre, where 41 cases of liquid nicotine poisonings were recorded last year, compared to 21 in 2018.

Research from The Australian National University together with the University of Melbourne found that non-smokers are more likely to take up smoking when using e-cigarettes.

“We found clear evidence that non-smokers who use e-cigarettes are around three times as likely to take up conventional smoking as their peers who don’t use e-cigarettes,” lead researcher, ANU’s Professor Emily Banks said in a statement.

According to the research, there wasn’t enough evidence that using e-cigarette will help you quit smoking.

“Our review found that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to conclude that e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking compared to other approaches, but there are promising signs that they have potential to help,” Banks added.

“The evidence also indicates that e-cigarettes tend to lead to prolonged use of nicotine, rather than quitting the habit entirely.”

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