The South Australian government says it has “accepted the Select Committee on e-cigarettes 2016 report which recommends the regulation of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, including prohibiting the sale of them to children.”
The government “will put the proposed regulations out for public consultation in the New Year.”
While dressed as a positive development, in fact SA is quietly closing the door on tobacco harm reduction and ignoring evidence form much larger jurisdictions (eg UK) that ENDS (e-cigarettes and vaping) is far safer and should be encouraged as a means of getting smokers to quit their habit.
The select committee was chaired by Annabel Digance MP (Labor, Elder) – an ex-smoker herself – who said at the time of its publication (February 2016) that she did not know “whether e-cigarettes are effective in helping people to quit smoking without causing potentially new damaging health effects” but SA should not be a “nanny state”.
The latest announcement comes from a minister “for mental health and substance abuse” who says e-cigs will have “the same restrictions that currently apply to tobacco products”.
The report called for prohibition of sale of e-cigarettes to minors, a recommendation that no-one should disagree with. But its recommendations to limit sale of e-cigarettes to specialist outlets that may not sell anything else was more contentious.
In February, Ms Digance (below) told factasia on ABC radio that the aim was for shops that sell vapes to be able to offer “specialist advice” to smokers wishing to switch, but did not elaborate on where such advice might originate. No such advice is available for other smoking-cessation items (such as gum or patches), which are available in supermarkets without supervision.
She also acknowledged there is considerable uncertainty in the state about the legality or otherwise of e-cigs, nicotine and e-juices, and said SA did not want to be a “nanny state”.