Many of you (all 3 of you) who bother to read this blog, will undoubtedly be aware much time is spent speaking the blatant obvious about so called honorable politicians that are that far detached from the real world that I sometimes forget, there are a few good men among them. The Honorable Eric Abetz is certainly one of those people worthy to be leading this great country. In a time where stupidity reins in Canberra and narrow minded law makers seemingly forget about the people they are meant to represent, out of the Bass Strait emerges Abetz. Only a few days ago an article released by the Examiner (www.examiner.com.au) with a true, realistic and unbiased view is delivered by Senator Abetz and titled
Why the time to legalise vaping has come: Eric Abetz
I could barely believe my eyes reading onwards and knew immediately that I had been proven wrong, there is honest, intelligent politicians in parliament and we are quietly hoping Senator Abetz is one of many who will soon see rationally why vaping can not be ignored or banned by the ignorant. It reads like this
Tasmania suffers the highest smoking rates in Australia – well above the national average by nearly 3 percentage points.
We host the suburbs with the highest national smoking rates as well.
Suburbs where the population can least afford to smoke.
Our smoking rates in Tasmania have remained stagnant for the past decade.
Now most of us accept that smoking is a costly and health impairing activity.
In an ideal world no-one would smoke.
Its impact on individuals and the health budget is there for all to witness.
Governments of all persuasions have tried education, product warning labels, plain packaging, higher taxes, the banning of advertising – with the good intention of at least reducing levels of smoking.
In short, these measures have failed – some with perverse consequences.
For example, higher taxes has seen the growth of the black market in illegal tobacco.
People allegedly enjoy smoking for the nicotine hit beside the mistaken belief of a perceived sophistication or social acceptance.
No matter what one’s reason, the inhaling of tobacco smoke is detrimental because of tars, additives and smoke beside the nicotine which is inhaled.
Health advice suggests the nicotine which provides the double edged hit and craving is in fact the least injurious aspect.
So, into this space comes the innovative idea of e-cigarettes or vaping which allows people to satisfy their nicotine craving without the tar, additives and smoke.
Surely a good thing. Yet it remains illegal to sell these products.
E-cigarettes are cigarette shaped electronic mechanisms that allow the inhaling of nicotine through metered doses.
Given we don’t live in a perfect world which would see neither smoking nor vaping it makes good sense to seek to wean smokers on to vaping.
Many smokers tell me they would switch if given the opportunity. Research tells us that those who have switched to vaping have their nicotine craving satisfied whilst reporting improvements in their general health.
The European research in particular bears this out. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is cautiously finding its way in acknowledging the lesser of two evils.
Suggestions that vaping is injurious to health of course is not questioned, but as a substitute for smoking it is preferable, something recognised in many other countries.
Most health experts analysing e-cigarettes are of the view that they are 95 per cent less harmful than inhaling tobacco smoke.
UK officials believe the e-cigarette has assisted thousands of people to quit the smoking habit altogether.
Fear that e-cigarettes may encourage young people to smoke has not been borne out by the European experience which suggests it is not “cool” to smoke them and serves as a reminder to young people of the difficulty of giving up the habit.
Reluctance to introduce another smoking type product to the market is understood.
But such reluctance needs to assess whether the new product is as bad as or worse than the current product. If so, it would be wise to seek to restrict it.
But when the product is so overwhelmingly better it is difficult to understand the current rationale.
It’s a bit like refusing to legislate low-alcohol beer because we don’t like the impact of alcohol in society.
Most of us accept that no matter what your view on alcohol, low-alcohol beer is preferable to full strength. So it is and should be with e-cigarettes.
The random airing of the issue with constituents suggests it is not a front of mind issue but once engaged they see the sense in the legalisation of e-cigarettes or vaping.
In case readers wonder why vaping of all issues is one for me to write about?
The privilege of Parliamentary representation sees the full range of issues come across your desk and yes, this issue is just one of them.
But it’s one which is worthy of pursuit to assist individual health and the health budget. An individual private good and a social public good wrapped in one. The time for legalising e-cigarettes or vaping has come.
- Eric Abetz is a Tasmania Senator.
Senator Abetz, my hat is off to you sir, thank you for having the courage and integrity to be able to see passed the scaremongering, to immerse yourself into factual based research and to not shy away from the hard questions and and even harder answers, to not show favoritism but instead show a level of rationalism beyond comprehension of many of your counterparts and of course not be controlled by money strings of big tobacco. I’m not going to mention your persuasion either personal or party based, your career background, other then your political career length and service to this country, because the words you carefully choose and thought about is probably the rarest of all in politics. I hope it makes all the difference to many Australians who wish to implement tobacco harm reduction and are inspred by your words to join the good fight for vaping.
Senator Eric Abetz an Australian politician who has been a Senator for Tasmania since February 1994. To read this Article in full Click HERE