Queensland brings in laws on e-cigarettes

Queensland is about to introduce Australia's first laws controlling e-cigarettes.
Queensland is about to introduce Australia's first laws controlling e-cigarettes. Robyne Cuerel

"VAPING" is likely to vapour out if Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg gets his way.

Vaping is what users of e-cigarettes do, but their habit is about to be controlled under legislation introduced to Queensland parliament last week.

E-Cigarettes are battery-operated gadgets which when sucked heats a replaceable cartridge filled with liquid containing nicotine, turning it into a vapour that can be inhaled.

There is no tobacco and no smoke, but a visible vapour is exhaled. At the moment e-cigarettes are imported under a loophole in Australian law but Queensland is about to get strict, though they will still remain legal.

The amendments to the Tobacco Act will become effective from January 1 and will ensure the same tough restrictions on regular cigarettes will be applied to all electronic cigarettes including selling them to children, banning their use in indoor or outdoor public places, and ensuring no promotion or advertisement of the products in retail outlets.

E-cigarettes have been marketed as a more attractive option to smokers attempting to quit.

However Mr Springborg questioned their use as a quitting aid saying a July 2014 World Health Organisation report found they could harm children, adolescents and pregnant women.

"To date, the evidence for the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a method for quitting is limited, and there are no e-cigarettes on the market that have been approved as therapeutic products for stopping smoking," Mr Springborg said.

Mr Springborg said public health concerns included their use in smoke-free places, the unknown health effects of use and exposure, and potential for a new market of smoking.

"These new laws will ensure that e-cigarettes are not sold to children, not smoked in smoke-free indoor and outdoor public places, and not advertised, promoted or displayed at retail outlets," he said.

"Like regular cigarettes, the Tobacco Act amendments will not ban these devices outright but will subject them to tough restrictions."

The Gatton Star spoke to the wife and mother of Lockyer Valley e-cigarette users.

The woman declined to be named but said they were better for health than normal cigarettes.

"Someone put my husband onto e-cigarettes four years ago and since then he hasn't had a single cigarette," she said.

"He orders them from America; it's not illegal through customs."

 She said her oldest child had also taken up "vaping" instead of smoking cigarettes and they found it more socially acceptable.

"They were at Movie World where someone told them you can't smoke here," she said.

"Once he realised what it was, he said it was okay."

The woman told the Gatton Star e-cigarettes were better for health reasons both for the smoker and passive smoking.

"You still see people smoking in cars with kids which is awful, but e-cigarettes can't harm children," she said.

Topics:  cigarettes e-cigarettes lawrence springborg queensland health smoking

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