Australian vapers are once again getting attacked by their own government — this time in the state of Victoria. The state has proposed a bill that will treat e-cigarettes exactly as tobacco products, and Victorian vapers have just a few days left to fight the new rules.
The Tobacco Amendment Bill will be voted on June 8. If it passes, according to the New Nicotine Alliance Australia (NNA-AU), vendors will be prohibited from displaying products or offering e-liquid samples in stores, and vaping will be prohibited in any place that now prohibits smoking.
The NNA-AU has issued an immediate call to action, providing talking points for letters to legislators and suggestions on who you should contact. There are just a couple days to act. All vapers — and their families and friends — should get involved.
“Prepare for the bans”
Selling vapor products that contain nicotine is already illegal in Australia. The new law restricts all products, including those that contain no nicotine. In a press release from health minister Jill Hennessy, she claims, “Our tough new laws will protect young kids from the risks of e-cigarettes and help de-normalise smoking.”
In an article on ABC’s website, Hennessy said, “We’re going to regulate them like they are a tobacco product and also make sure that we’re not really using e-cigarettes as a starting point for people to get a habit to then start cigarettes and then get addicted to nicotine.” She seems confused about the order of the process, but there’s no confusion over the purpose: protecting children, of course.
“We don’t want e-cigarettes being used to glamorise smoking by people under 18.” Or, more precisely, they don’t want e-cigarettes used by anyone — for whatever reason. Discussing the restrictions on outdoor use, the press release notes, “Businesses now have more than one year to prepare for the bans.”
How often do you see an official government statement that cheerfully uses the word “ban”?
Welcome to Australia, where cigarettes cost $25 a pack, and the Puritan tobacco controllers like Simon Chapman and Mike Daube make Stanton Glantz look like Grimm Green. This continent that was settled by intrepid pioneers hacking their way through the bush is becoming the ultimate nanny state.
“You may as well stick with smoking”
The NNA-AU says, “These restrictions will cripple the retail vaping industry, discourage smokers from switching to e-cigarettes and force vapers into smoking areas in public places. It sends a strong message that vaping is just as bad as smoking. In the future, as even more severe restrictions are placed on smoking, vaping will be included. This Bill was introduced without any public consultation.”
In an official statement to all members of the Victorian Parliament, Dr. Attila Danko of the NNA-AU wrote, “Putting the same restrictions on e-cigarettes as smoking sends a clear message that you may as well just stick with smoking. Given that not one e-cigarette sold in Australia comes from a tobacco company, the Tobacco Industry is likely to be celebrating this news. We represent people who could not give up smoking any other way except by using e-cigarettes, for us they are literally a life saving technology.”