Pro-vaping group says law change could save health system

 

Legalise vaping to help Tasmania cut smoking rates while helping the health system and economy, a retail group says.

The Australian Retail Vaping Industry Association (ARVIA) said research had shown vaping was up to 95 per cent less harmful than smoking.

ARVIA spokesman Russell Zimmerman said that had led to many developed nations legalising and regulating it as a proven way to help people quit cigarettes.

"Studies from New Zealand forecast the country is set to see health system savings of $720 per citizen from their liberalised approach to vaping, savings which I'm sure most would agree would be very welcome in Tasmania.

"Legalising vaping would be a win-win for Tasmania's health, jobs and economy.

"With the second highest smoking rate in Australia … every measure which helps Tasmanians give up traditional cigarettes offers significant health benefits."

He said Bridgewater and Gagebrook have some of the highest smoking rates in the country.

Robert Mallett, Tasmanian Small Business Council CEO said many western countries who have recognised regulated vaping as an effective and legitimate smoking cessation and harm reduction tool, including New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, countries in the European Union, and Japan.

Robert Mallett from the small business council of Tasmania. Photo taken on 17th August 2020. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN
Robert Mallett from the small business council of Tasmania. Photo taken on 17th August 2020. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

On behalf of ARVIA, today Mr Mallett released a Tasmanian Vaping Industry Economic Impact Assessment, showing legalising in Tasmania will lead to better health outcomes and more economic activity.

The paper also suggests legalising vaping in Tasmania would save the average smoker $9,000 per year and a first mover advantage could shift $438 million currently spent overseas by vapers Australia-wide to Tasmania's economy.

Mr Mallet, a non-smoker, said supporting the idea of legalising and regulating vaping made sense and the council, and their retailer members want to do everything to help reduce smoking rates.

Australian retailers are not allowed to sell vaping products using nicotine.

Lisa Martin at Winnings Newsagency supports the vaping industry. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN
Lisa Martin at Winnings Newsagency supports the vaping industry. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

Lisa Martin of Winning's Newsagency in North Hobart said the retail potential of legal vaping products in Tasmania is significant.

"We have people come in and call every week about buying vaping products which they have to buy from overseas," she said.

"Let's take the lead and make it a regulated product that users can buy locally.

"Users will access it anyway.

"Seems ridiculous that they can buy a product that is more harmful than less harmful."

She said with so many jobs lost in Tasmania this is an opportunity to create more jobs and money spent by vapers from buying online overseas would shift to Tasmania.

meryl.naidoo@news.com.au

Originally published as Pro-vaping group says legalisation could save public health big


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