In Australia, e-cigs are not labelled as smoking cessation products
Australia is famous for being at the forefront of the fight against smoking. The country has recently confirmed its scepticism regarding the use of e-cigarettes as nicotine cessation products. A new decision from the AMA (Australian Medical Association) recommends to regulate the e-cigarette market by harsh restrictive measures, similar to those regulating the cigarette market. They justify this position by the fact that they do not have « any proof » of its effectiveness as a nicotine substitute.
A recent survey that has been requested by the AMA on the use and sale of electronic cigarettes and devices in Australia has concluded that there is no evidence today that e-cigarettes could help smokers to quit. The president of the association, Doctor Michael Gannon, goes even further by saying that the recent development of electronic cigarettes is just one of the solutions found by the tobacco industry to broaden their product range. He also wishes to prevent electronic cigarettes from becoming a more « socially acceptable alternative to smoking », claiming on the contrary that such a habit could lead the youth to start smoking. The Australian authorities are thus reacting similarly to the recent position taken by the Luxembourg government regarding the e-cigarette.
This new stance fuels the legal and health uncertainties around vaping products on an international scale. In 2015, Public Health England took quite a different position, by admitting the important role played by electronic cigarettes to help smokers quit. Australia, which is considered as a « world leader in tobacco control » should not soften its position in the months to come. Apart from new unequivocal clinical studies from the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) that would bring proof that e-cigarettes are indeed useful as nicotine cessation products.