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Australia Backtracks on E-Cigarette Nicotine Ban Seconds After Reaffirming the Regulation

Australia is mulling a ban on the sale of e-liquids with nicotine. Shortly after approving the decision this week, the Federal Government appears to be having second thoughts.

Australian officials have announced that members of the parliament would conduct an inquiry aimed at reviewing the ban and investigating the health effects of vaping. The investigation would include an analysis of the use of e-cigarette among people trying to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes.

“The inquiry will investigate the health impacts of e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers, as well as their marketing and use as an aid for people attempting to quit smoking,” said Trent Zimmerman, chair of the Parliament’s Health, Aged Care and Sports Committee. “The Committee will also consider the appropriate regulatory framework for these products in Australia.”

According to Australian media, the government backtracked on its e-cigarette nicotine ban within 60 seconds. There are thousands of vapers in Australia, where there are contradictory vaping and nicotine regulations depending on the state where you find yourself.

However, e-cigarettes and its use have become increasing popular in the country. According to a 2013 survey, more young Australians are choosing to vape rather than smoke tobacco cigarettes.

The use of nicotine in vapes temporarily became illegal across the country after the country’s Therapeutic Goods Administration ruled that even the smallest amount of nicotine in an e-juice blend should be classified as a poison.

The government’s proposed ban on using nicotine in e-liquids has not gone down well with many Australians who use vaping to quit tobacco cigarettes. It’s not just vapers who see e-cigarettes as a more healthier option to traditional cigarettes, more than 100 doctors, scientists, and other professionals have written to Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging him to reevaluate the nicotine e-cigarette prohibition. The experts are calling for a reassessment of the ban and cite evidence from several international studies into the use of e-cigs.

The professionals who wrote to Prime Minister Turnbull include experts from the U.S., the UK, Poland, and India.

“The available evidence suggests that the potential risks from Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems are relatively small and can be minimized with sensible regulation,” the letter reads. “Furthermore, modeling studies using conservative estimates have shown there is a substantial net public health benefit from the use of ENDS.”

“We regret hat Australia is increasingly out-of-step with other countries in this regard… We therefore strongly encourage a prompt reclassification by the legislation of low concentrations of nicotine for vaping as a consumer product,” the letter added.

The Australian Prime Minister’s office is yet to issue a reply to the letter.

Most Australians think the prohibition of the use of nicotine in vapes is harsh especially given the available research on the subject. Also, some have highlighted that traditional tobacco cigarettes, which are detrimental to the health of its users, are still legal and sold in almost every convenient store in the country.

Critics of the government’s stand have also pointed to several countries including New Zealand, the U.S.  and the European Union where vaping has been legalized for its potential health benefits.

Dr. Colin Mendelsohn, a Tobacco Treatment Specialist and Associate Professor at New South Wales University, described the country’s  e-cigarettes nicotine prohibitions as “harsh,” according to Adelaide Now.

“Most of the harm from tobacco is due to the tar, the carbon monoxide and the other toxic chemicals produced by burning tobacco,” Dr. Mendelsohn explained. “But the vast majority of the 7000 chemicals in smoke are absent from e-cigarette vapor, and those that are present are there at less than 1 percent of the concentration of smoke.”

“We want people to be able to buy e-cigarettes, not make it harder for them,” he added.