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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2223 ..


Concerningly, the health risks of vaping are presently unknown. A 2020 study by Curtin University and the Telethon Kids Institute, commissioned by the Australian Lung Foundation, tested 52 vaping liquids sold over the counter in Australia. That study found that 100 per cent of e-liquids had between one and 18 chemicals which have unknown effects on respiratory health; none of the brands had a complete, accurate ingredient list, which would be noncompliant with European Union labelling regulations; 21 per cent of e-liquids contained nicotine or nicotyrine, despite it being illegal to sell e-liquids containing nicotine in all Australian states and territories; and 62 per cent of new e-liquids and 65 per cent of vaped e-liquids contained chemicals likely to be toxic if vaped repeatedly.

The Morrison government, via the Therapeutic Goods Administration, has taken substantial steps to restrict access to vaping fluids that contain nicotine by closing gaps in the current regulatory regime in Australia. Currently, while the sale of vaping fluid that contains nicotine is illegal in all states and territories, the importation of vaping fluid containing nicotine is not prohibited. From 1 October 2021, the importation of nicotine e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine for vaping will require a valid prescription. It is important to note that this change will not prevent access to vaping fluid to persons who have a prescription from their doctor.

The Canberra Liberals do not oppose the motion, but note the efforts that are already underway to reduce the risks from vaping. Many of those efforts are squarely the responsibility of the commonwealth and are currently being progressed via the Therapeutic Goods Administration and other agencies, such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, in relation to the marketing and safety of e-cigarettes.

We will support the motion and we look forward to the reporting back to the Assembly of the findings of the investigations.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (3.35): The ACT Greens will be supporting Dr Paterson’s motion calling on the ACT government to educate and advocate for the prevention of the use of e-cigarettes or vapes. In recent weeks, there has been increased and important attention to the uptake of vaping by people who otherwise would not be likely to start smoking, including younger people. I appreciate Dr Paterson bringing that important conversation to the Assembly in this well-considered motion.

Australia has a strong track record in leading the way on legislative and taxation reform that has driven down the rate of smoking. This approach has included our ban on the importation of liquid nicotine. As the motion rightly points out, it should be extended to include plain packaging for vaping paraphernalia, banning advertisements for said products, and requiring child-safe packing.

Vaping is considered by some, including some experts, to be a potential method of harm reduction when used as a smoking cessation or replacement product. Indeed, the invention of e-cigarettes in the early 2000s was motivated by an interest in providing a safer alternative to smoking. For those who are already smokers, that may indeed be the case, and seeking opportunities to move smokers off extremely harmful tobacco


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