Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 24 November 2022) . . Page.. 3781 ..
allows for organ and tissue donation to be acknowledged on a loved one’s death certificate and/or in a letter from the Chief Minister. South Australia, very pleasingly, has introduced a bill for the same in recent weeks. Applying for this acknowledgement is a very simple process, enabled through Access Canberra, and one which includes providing a donor confirmation letter from DonateLife ACT. Providing this absolute clarity that this release is lawful is a welcome amendment and I thank those who have recognised this and progressed this. I commend this bill and I commend the government amendments to the Assembly. Thank you.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (11.32), in reply: I am pleased that the Assembly is today debating this bill. In some ways a very simple and in other ways a very important piece of legislation. On 4 May, I presented the Health Legislation Amendment Bill to the Assembly, which seeks to amend the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008, the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 2007 and the Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1978.
The amendments included in the bill, as others have said, are the first step in the review of the ACT’s legislation on the regulation of e-cigarettes. The review stemmed from a motion on e-cigarettes that was unanimously agreed to by this Assembly on 3 August 2021. That motion, brought forward by Dr Paterson, called on the government to review relevant ACT legislation to ensure that current arrangements are helping to minimise the harm caused by e-cigarettes and vaping across our community, particularly with respect to young people.
As the Minister for Health, I am committed to protecting the health and safety of the ACT community. To support appropriate public health protection, it is essential that the legislation keep pace with the evidence and with emerging issues. As highlighted by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, there has been a significant increase in the use of nicotine e-cigarettes and other nicotine vaping products by young people, not only nationally but across the world.
The 2022 National Health and Medical Research Council CEO statement on electronic cigarettes provides public health advice on the safety and impact of e-cigarettes based on a review of the current evidence. The key takeaways from the statement are that e-cigarettes can be harmful; people who have never smoked may be more likely to take up tobacco smoking if they use e-cigarettes; there are no health benefits associated with using e-cigarettes for people who do not currently smoke; and e-cigarettes are not proven to be a safe and effective smoking cessation aid.
There is a lot that we still do not know about e-cigarettes and vaping. More time is needed for comprehensive research into the safety, quality and efficacy of e-cigarette products. While this research is being conducted, it is paramount that we, as decision-makers, do not neglect the potential harms caused by these products. We must continue with our progress to reduce conventional cigarette smoking, as well as e-cigarette vaping. With this in mind, the bill seeks to expand the available regulatory options for dealing with e-cigarettes in the ACT.
This is, as I said, a first step but an important one that I intend to build on to ensure that the harms caused by e-cigarettes are minimised as rapidly and as effectively as