Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 April 2016) . . Page.. 1118 ..
We know that all young people are important. That is why this government is ensuring that as a community we have a variety of opportunities and supports that span the diverse needs of the young people that live here.
Smoke-Free Legislation Amendment Bill 2016
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (3.51): I will speak briefly to this proactive and sensible bill. The Greens will be supporting the bill before us today primarily as its intention is to reduce the normalisation of smoking in the community and reduce the risk of personal vaporisers acting as a possible pathway to tobacco. The burdens of harmful tobacco use are well established, particularly amongst vulnerable communities, and they extend not just to the smoker but to those around them as well. This is of specific concern to children and young people and something that we in this place should be doing all we can to improve.
I will state up front that while we are awaiting the medical and scientific community to form a consensus on the possible dangers and long-term health impacts of these personal vaporisers, or e-cigarettes as they are also known, most evidence to date seems to indicate that the use has vastly less health impact than traditional tobacco smoking. Early literature reviews and meta-studies also point to their use as a positive tobacco cessation device, and I think it is important to maintain a harm-reduction approach to new and novel substance use that maintains a health focus in this debate, as in many others.
I am pleased to see the ACT taking a measured approach to this new and emerging market with a goal to ensuring that smoking in any form is not being advertised to minors, and that we also continue to offer viable alternatives to support those who wish to quit.
I am also happy to support part 3, which has the effect of prohibiting personal vaporiser use in cars where children under the age of 16 are present. This prohibition will apply whether or not the personal vaporiser contains nicotine, and it sends a strong message that we should not be normalising smoking activities to children.
It is disturbing to see some retailers, general shop outlets and service stations selling these personal vaporisers with sweet flavours and what could be considered young-people-focused marketing. While it is important to acknowledge that these vaporisers and the accompanying juices that are used in them do not contain nicotine, it is not that hard to source the nicotine-containing fluid. The possible connection there is that some young people may be interested in trying the nicotine juice and have easy access to the equipment to use it.
I had some thoughts regarding display of these products—the actual vaporisers and the various components—in over-18-only retail outlets. Considering that it is a