AACS: CALL TO LEGALISE ECIGARETTES GATHERS MOMENTUM

AACS: CALL TO LEGALISE ECIGARETTES GATHERS MOMENTUM

June 12, 2018: Amid growing calls from politicians and health professionals, the pressure is mounting on Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to legalise eCigarettes and provide a safer alternative for Australians looking to quit smoking traditional tobacco.

The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has lent its support to recent comments by NSW GP Karen Counter and Billie Bonevski, a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) fellow and a behavioural science professor at Newcastle University, who have called for eCigarettes to be more readily accessible because they are much safer than traditional tobacco.

The time has come to make these products accessible to Australians to help them quit, and to bring us into line with leading nations, says AACS CEO Jeff Rogut.

“The AACS has repeatedly called for the urgent development of an appropriate legal framework to govern the sale of eCigarettes in Australia, before the black market takes over and criminal gangs fill the gap with products of inferior quality that don’t meet compliance standards. This urgency continues to grow,” Mr Rogut says.

“Millions of smokers have successfully quit smoking traditional tobacco around the world through the use of eCigarettes, but Australians are being denied an opportunity to access these safer products. As it stands, we are making it harder for people to quit smoking by limiting their options. It beggars belief.” 

A Public Health England study from 2015 shows are around 95% safer than conventional cigarettes.

Additionally, AACS research shows Australians are overwhelmingly in support of legalising eCigarettes if they can help smokers quit. More than half of Australians feeling so strongly about the issue that it could influence their vote.

The research – the most extensive ever undertaken on the topic of eCigarettes in Australia – shows that 54% of Australians view the legalisation of eCigarettes as a potential vote-influencing or even vote-changing issue. It also shows that 73% of Australians would support the legalisation of eCigarettes to help smokers quit.

“ECigarettes have the capacity to generate genuine improvements in societal health and we owe it to people looking to quit tobacco to provide a viable option to help,” Mr Rogut says.

Melbourne GP Dr Attila Danko has previously highlighted the absurdity of the Government’s view of eCigarettes, saying: “Basically the most harmful product (tobacco) is legally able to be sold everywhere, including the corner milk bar, but the safer product (e-cigarettes and vaping products) isn’t.’’

University of NSW professor Colin Mendelsohn has been equally vocal in calling for eCigarettes to be legalised, with his recent paper outlining research that found adults who changed from smoking traditional tobacco to eCigarettes demonstrated improved health when it came to asthma, blood pressure, cardiovascular health and lung function, among other improvements.

The AACS State of the Industry Report 2017 released last month highlights the potential for convenience stores to be a destination for eCigarettes and other quit-smoking products, given the $105 million growth in tobacco sales the channel experienced over the course of last year.

The AACS has identified several key considerations in the legalisation of eCigarettes, including restrictions in sales to minors, ensuring they are child tamper proof, contain an ingredients list, comply with quality standards and are manufactured and sold with strict safety standards in place.

Below: A breakdown of the key AACS research findings into eCigarettes.

call-to-legalise-ecigarettes

Further information:                                                                                              

Jeff Rogut
Chief Executive Officer
Australasian Association of Convenience Stores
Ph: +61 467 873

Media enquiries:
Stephen Naylor
Wise McBaron Communication
Ph: +61 (2) 9279 4770