Australians want e-cigarettes legalised

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Sixty-one per cent of Australians support the government regulating to make e-cigarettes, personal vaporisers and other less harmful alternatives to smoking available alongside cigarettes in retail, according to a new poll on behalf of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) by Crosby | Textor Group.

The poll found two-thirds of smokers support the legalisation of e-cigarettes and personal vaporisers – and more than two thirds of all voters agree that the Australian government should regulate, and make available, less harmful alternatives to cigarettes “as a way to completely phase out cigarette smoking in this country”.

“More and more Australians are buying personal vaporisers with nicotine online from overseas, simply because they can’t buy them locally and this is affecting local retailers who are subject to an effective ban,” ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said.

“The government needs to act so that responsible local retailers can compete on a level playing field and sell less harmful products for Australians trying to change their habits. Failure to regulate only increases the risks and there are currently no commonwealth laws prohibiting advertising to children, or Australian standards for ingredients or vaporiser design to keep people safe.”

Countries around the world including Canada, UK, New Zealand and the US have legalised and regulated these products, which the ARA says are not only beneficial for current smokers, but also allow retailers to compete fairly in the market.

“It is clear that smokers are not prepared to wait around for the government to act and improve their health, as hundreds of thousands of Australians are already using these products,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Australians have been purchasing e-liquids containing nicotine through online marketplaces for years, and unfortunately consumers cannot guarantee the quality of the purchase and are unaware of the risks.”