If we thought vaping regulations were bad in the UK, we should think ourselves lucky compared to the Australians. E-cigarettes are banned in the South Pacific country and in January a federal decision was quietly slipped through to uphold the ban on the devices, potentially costing Australian smokers 6000 Australian Dollars every year.
SMOKING IN AUSTRALIA
Tobacco tax is continuing to increase rapidly in Australia and current figures show that a smoker who gets through a 20 pack a day will spend 7300 Australian Dollars every year. The Australian government are therefore trying to force smokers to quit the habit or risk facing financial difficulty.
This method has been heavily scrutinised and seems to be a very stubborn strategy which is currently not having the desired effect. Around 15% of the Australian population smoke, with this figure being dominated by the poorer section of the population.
Unfortunately, these smokers that live in lower socio-economic areas are stuck with an ultimatum; stop smoking or stop paying for other essential lifestyle items such as food. Many of these smokers are choosing the latter and being forced into poverty. This is of course not in the government’s best interests and will no doubt lead to a rise in crime.
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
This revelation seems absurd when a perfectly suitable solution is staring them right in the face but is being dismissed repeatedly. E-cigarettes have been a huge contributor in the fight against tobacco in the UK, so why don’t Australia follow suit?
Dr Colin Mendelsohn, Tobacco treatment specialist has calculated that switching to vaping could save a 20 pack a day smoker 6150 Australian Dollars every year. Are the Australian government really so stubborn that they will ignore these figures and stick to their guns regarding the ban on e-cigarettes.
Without e-cigarettes, smokers are in a conundrum and have therefore been put in a very difficult position. They decide they cannot afford cigarettes and therefore feel stressed due to their lack of nicotine, or they spend the little disposable income they have on cigarettes meaning they are stressed about their financial situation, leading to a greater need for cigarettes… you see where I’m going with this, it’s a vicious circle.
Professor David Nutt, from the Imperial College London, said:
There is no explanation for this inexplicable preferential treatment for the cigarette supply chain is offered, and, in our view, no justification is possible.
We have seen similar occurrences happen in the USA, not quite to this extent, however, we hope that the situation in Australia isn’t apparent due to pressure and manipulation from Big Tobacco companies.