Labor accepts the advice of Australian and international experts, which is to maintain a precautionary approach to the marketing and use of e-cigarettes.
In a recent joint statement, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer and state and territory Chief Health Officers highlighted that:
“There is growing evidence implicating e-cigarettes in a range of harms to individual and population health. E-cigarettes are relatively new products and the long-term safety and health effects associated with their use and exposure to second-hand vapour are unknown. International evidence is emerging of a possible link between the use of e-cigarettes and lung disease.”
In relation to smoking cessation in particular, the officers found that “at a population level, there continues to be insufficient evidence to promote the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation”.
You can find the full joint statement at https://www.health.gov.au/news/e-cigarettes-linked-to-severe-lung-illness.
This follows similar advice from other independent experts in Australia (including the Therapeutic Goods Administration and National Health and Medical Research Council) and overseas (such as the World Health Organisation).
Of particular concern is the possible link between e-cigarette use and increased smoking rates, with a study finding young people who use e-cigarettes or vaping are three times more likely to start smoking tobacco.
Experts also point to the wide variation of the toxicity of contents among e-cigarettes, and research which indicates that e-cigarette liquids or vapour may also contain potentially harmful chemicals not present in smoke from tobacco cigarettes.
Labor will continue to monitor emerging evidence around the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes, and we will continue to follow the advice of the independent experts.
We note that the Government has the same position, and welcome bipartisanship on this important issue.