“Health dangers are significant”: RACGP backs the government crackdown on vaping

“Health dangers are significant”: RACGP backs the government crackdown on vaping
Image: Wikimedia Commons



The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP), Australia’s largest professional GP organisation, has once again thrown their support behind the Albanese government’s crackdown on vapes.

It comes after the government introduced on Thursday the Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024.

The Bill bans the importation, domestic manufacture, supply, commercial possession, and advertisement of disposable single use and non-therapeutic vapes.

This legislation rules out any access to casual trade and use of the substance unless permitted with a nicotine prescription.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins has urged all MPs to back the bill.

“We support the crackdown on vaping, it’s not a harmless alternative to smoking cigarettes,” she said.

“Vaping is taking hold of more and more people, and the health dangers are significant. No one can be 100% sure of the long-term impacts so you are playing with fire, and we do know they contain chemicals that cause serious respiratory issues and lung damage.”

“It’s been reported that some teenagers are learning they have the lungs of a 70-year-old and that the damage may be permanent.”

“A long fight ahead of us”

Ms Higgins said the role of GPs is vital as they can now prescribe nicotine vaping products for smoking cessation.

“We are already experienced in helping people quit nicotine, including behavioural support, managing withdrawal symptoms and cravings, taking advantage of nicotine replacement therapy options,” she said.

“There is a long fight ahead of us,” she said.

“We will continue our calls for the Government to introduce more clearly documented restrictions on tobacco lobbying to include all nicotine containing products.”

She also vowed that RACGP would keep fighting for all MPs and political parties to reject Big Tobacco donations and refrain from meetings with any tobacco lobbyists.

“Vapes are not being sold by companies as a benevolent public health measure. They are trying to make money,” she said.

Big Tobacco companies have been shown to be closely tied to ‘foundations’ financing academic papers on e-cigarettes.

There was also a ‘cash for vapes’ scheme, which would have led to pharmacists receiving $275 from Philip Morris when they order a certain type of vape.

The scheme was suspended in August 2022.

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