Vape lobbying pushing for removal of ban on e-cigarettes
A BAN on e-cigarettes should be lifted across Australia to help lifelong smokers kick the habit, a new vaping lobby says.
The Australian Retailers Association flanked by vape retailers and health specialists unveiled the new group on Wednesday in Canberra.
Boss Russell Zimmerman said the group presented more than 20 retailers, not big "tobacco companies".
Mr Zimmerman said it was critical vaping was legalised in Australia, to help local retailers move away from harmful tabacco products and towards e-cigarette alternatives and to ensure they weren't losing business to foreign companies.
"If vaping is not legalised in Australia, more and more people will bring in products from overseas," he said.
"It's also essential that we get more and more people off cigarettes."
Mr Zimmerman said thousands of Australian businesses were unable to transition from selling "lethal tobacco to less harmful vaping and e-cigarette products" due to the nation's strict laws.
Nicotine for vaping is illegal to buy, possess, or use in Australia.
South Australia last month made it an offence to advertise vaping products, sell them online, and display them in stores.
The controversial laws were welcomed by addition groups but prompted outrage from tobacco groups who fear shops will close.
Vapour Power spokesman, Malcolm Bodie, said he was concerned other states would follow South Australia's lead.
"To ban online sales of e-cigarettes makes no sense," Mr Bodie said.
"If they regulate it, then they're open to having tariffs imposed on nicotine and recouping some of the losses from their tobacco taxes," he said.
Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association chairman Dr Colin Mendelson said the group was not looking to promote vaping as a lifestyle choice.
"We are not supporting vaping as a stand-alone activity," he said.
"It's specifically designed for established smokers ... who can't quit, it's not for young people, it's not for nons-mokers."
Royal Adelaide Hospital and University of Adelaide researchers last month revealed nicotine-free e-cigarettes can cause more upper respiratory cell damage than tobacco cigarettes depending on the electronic device used.