Australia is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of anti-smoking initiatives. Due to this, electronic cigarettes are heavily regulated by strict measures. This despite the fact that e-cigs represent a solution, rather than compounding the problem in this complex social issue. Senator Cory Bernardi is taking matters into his own hands to draw public attention to this situation. To achieve this, he drives “Vape Force One”, a van plastered with pro-vaping messages to raise awareness.
Known for his political career, Cory Bernardi is also quite famous for his controversial positions. This former member of the Australian liberal party decided to establish his own party in 2017. He is also a dedicated activist in favour of electronic cigarettes, which he considers one of the best smoking cessation aids.
The government does not share his opinion, however, and the sale of e-liquids containing nicotine remains forbidden. However, these e-juices could one day be part of smoking cessation programmes. Driving his van, Cory Bernardi has traveled the country to promote awareness to the Australian Parliament.
Australia’s fight against tobacco… And vaping
For Bernardi, the government’s position “makes no sense”. Vaping is a proven method to taper off a nicotine addiction to cease smoking tobacco. Most if not all reliable studies have proven that e-cigs are less harmful to health than traditional cigarettes.
Yet, the Minister of Health is sticking to the recommendations of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA does not recognize e-cigarettes as a viable nicotine substitute. The Ministry of Health spokesperson, Greg Hunt, believes that e-cigs are a gateway into traditional smoking.
Unfortunately, the senator’s Vape Force One has little chances of swaying the government any time soon. In March 2017, Australian authorities confirmed their position banning e-liquids containing nicotine. They believe that e-cigs lead to smoking, and as such represent a risk to public health.