Things might be looking up for vapers in Australia. A proposal to the government to allow nicotine in e-cigarettes is being considered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The proposal was made by the New Nicotine Alliance Australia (NNA), a non-profit group that advocates for vapor and other low-risk nicotine products. It would make nicotine of up to 3.6 percent legal.

“It is ludicrous to ban a product that the UK’s Department of Health and the UK Royal College of Physicians have concluded is at least 95 percent safer than smoking while deadly tobacco cigarettes can be purchased at any corner shop or petrol station in Australia”, said NNA spokesperson Donna Darvill in a press release.

“The use of nicotine in electronic cigarettes has the potential for huge improvements in public health in Australia,” added Darvill. “Studies from overseas have shown that millions of smokers have now switched from burning tobacco to vaping. In fact, electronic cigarettes are now used more than any other method for reducing the harm from tobacco smoking in the UK, including nicotine patches.”

“The UK’s Royal College of Physicians recently concluded that ‘in the interests of public health it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking.’ This cannot be ignored by the Commonwealth Department of Health,” said NNA president Dr. Attila Danko.

“Some people have raised concerns that electronic cigarettes with nicotine will act as a gateway to smoking in young people, but there is no good evidence for this,” said Danko. “Last week, Cancer Research UK stated that “the overwhelming majority of e-cigarette users, also referred to as vapers, are current or ex-smokers, and use by non-smokers and children is extremely low”.

“It’s absurd that the only generally-available legal access to nicotine is by way of deadly tobacco smoking”, stated Darvill. ”Keeping nicotine-containing vaping devices illegal deprives many thousands of Australian smokers a safer alternative to burning tobacco. New Zealand’s Ministry of Health announced its intention to legalise nicotine for electronic cigarettes this week. Australia risks the embarrassment of falling behind New Zealand if the Commonwealth Department of Health does not legalise low-strength nicotine solutions for use in electronic cigarettes.”

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