RACGP joins united stand against vaping

Michelle Wisbey

8/05/2024 2:57:29 PM

The college has teamed up with peak health bodies to support proposed new laws aimed at stifling the product’s widespread availability.

Mark Butler hosting a vaping press conference.
RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins joins Minister Mark Butler, the Australian Border Force, and peak health bodies at a press conference on vaping in Queensland.

A nationwide vaping crackdown is gaining momentum, with the RACGP adding its voice to a coalition of frontline health bodies calling for change.
For the first time, the college has joined forces with the Australian Medical Association and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, urging MPs to back vaping legislation currently before the Federal Parliament.
If passed, the new laws would class vapes as a therapeutic good, available via a prescription and used to support patients quit smoking.
The laws would work alongside additional changes introduced earlier this year which restrict the importation, distribution, and supply of all vapes to established pharmacies.
Under the plan, tobacconists, vape shops, and convenience stores would no longer be able to lawfully supply any type of vape, while severe penalties have been announced for the importation, manufacture, supply, advertisement, and commercial possession of unlawful vapes.
Those who break the proposed laws would face up to seven years in prison or fines of up to $2.2 million.
RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said if decisive action is not taken immediately, Australia will be faced with another generation of nicotine users. 
‘Australia has done a tremendous amount to reduce smoking rates across the country, but the job is not done,’ she said.
‘Businesses selling vapes, including Big Tobacco companies, are not doing so as a generous public health measure, they are out to lure in more customers and make more money.
‘Put your health and wellbeing first and encourage people in your life to do the same.’
The harsh new penalties come as one in six high school students, and one quarter of Australians aged 18–24 are now vaping.
At the same time, vapes have become the number one behavioural issue in many schools, as vape shops intentionally open their doors within walking distance of campuses.
Since harsher laws and penalties were introduced at the start of 2024, authorities nationwide have been clamping down on vape importation.
Last month, Victoria Police seized almost 500,000 vapes from a West Melbourne warehouse, leading to six arrests, while $13.5 million of vapes, tobacco, firearms, and cash were seized in a separate raid in February.
Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler described the fight against youth vaping as ‘stepping up every day’.
‘Doctors see first-hand the health impacts of nicotine addiction every day – the risks, the devastating effects on kids, their parents, their families,’ he said.
‘I’m reassured that the nation’s peak frontline health professions have joined … our world-leading stand against this insidious product peddled by Big Tobacco and its exploitative mates.

‘This is a fight, an unrelenting fight, on behalf of our kids and we will not stop until we have won.’
The Government’s vaping plan will be voted on in Federal Parliament later this year, and come into effect on 1 July if it passes.
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Dr Vuchuru Anila Prem Reddy   14/05/2024 9:44:41 PM

Yet the Racgp says nothing about all the cannabis addicts who are lining up for medicinal cannabis for the extra strong stuff…