Submission to vaping – an inquiry into reducing rates of e-cigarette use in Queensland

The George Institute is pleased to provide a submission to the Queensland Parliament’s Inquiry into reducing e-cigarette use in Queensland.

We commend the Queensland Government for its efforts to address the health-related risks presented by the emergence and rapid market penetration of e-cigarettes. Although the long-term effects of using e-cigarettes or being exposed to them are yet unknown, there is mounting evidence that they are associated with increased risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular diseases, lung disorders, and cancer. Queensland can take a leadership role in assisting Australia to capitalise on its evidence-based regulatory framework to improve the health of all Australian by reducing smoking rates.

Over recent years the use of unregulated vaping products, largely imported illegally, has rapidly increased and developed worrying trends, particularly in children and adolescents. There is evidence that these products do not act as effective smoking cessation tools, do not meet Australian standards, contain harmful chemicals to health, and usually contain the addictive substance nicotine. As such, it is critical that these products are regulated and their availability strictly controlled.

The George Institute recommends:

  1. The illegal importation of Nicotine Vapour Products (NVPs) should be controlled strictly, as an utmost priority
  2. NVPs should be used as a smoking cessation tool only under medical supervision
  3. Minimum safety standards for NVPs should be set according to scientific evidence of harms, and these safety standards should be monitored and enforced (with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) not providing pre-market assessment)
  4. The production, sale, and import of non-nicotine e-cigarettes and flavours should be banned
  5. Legislative frameworks for tobacco control should be clear and streamlined to aid enforcement and avoid loopholes, including industry interference.