Smokers in the Australian state of Victoria wanting to switch to far safer vaping may be on their own if the government has its way. The language in the Tobacco Amendment Bill will prevent employees in vape shops from recommending products, explaining how they work, or even displaying them. It’s not exactly a vape ban, but an information ban.
According to an article on the Not Smoking Australia website, the bill “would also ban vape stores from showing e-cigarette products to customers who are unsure of what they want, or even mentioning the name of a brand to them.” The government claims these restrictions will protect children. But they don’t offer the option for stores to simply exclude underage customers.
“The Victorian Government appears to be following advice from local health charities such as Cancer Council, Heart Foundation and Quit Victoria who are still championing prohibition based on alarmist fears discredited by the [Royal College of Physicians report],” says the article.
In our article on the Victorian Tobacco Amendment Bill, we quoted Dr. Attila Danko’s statement to the Victorian Parliament. “Putting the same restrictions on e-cigarettes as smoking sends a clear message that you may as well just stick with smoking,” wrote Danko. “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.”
Now we see how awful that could really be. Prohibiting vape shops from properly explaining the products they sell to customers who know nothing about them is not much different than telling smokers to continue to do what they’re familiar with. It doesn’t take any special training to light a match and hold it to a cigarette. The Victorian government seems convinced it should be easier to die than to live.
The bill will be passed in August — if vapers and concerned citizens don’t act immediately to fight it. Not Smoking Australia suggests Victoria residents contact their representatives on the Legislative Council.