Groups, health experts denounce e-cigarette ban

E-cigarettesHealth experts have joined the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) and the New Nicotine Alliance in calling on government to lift the ban on e-cigarettes.

AACS has previously called on governments around the country to make e-cigarettes more readily available for responsible sale for  those looking to quit smoking to have this option.

New Nicotine Alliance president Attila Danko has labelled laws banning e-cigarettes as “monstrous.” Addressing a Senate inquiry in Sydney, Danko suggested smoking could become obsolete if laws banning e-cigarettes were overturned.

International studies back up the potential role e-cigarettes can play in tackling smoking. E-cigarettes are approximately 95 per cent safer than smoked tobacco, according to an August 2015 report commissioned by Public Health England.

AACS CEO Jeff Rogut emphasised the urgent need for government to develop a framework for the legal sale of e-cigarettes.

“There is international research to show that e-cigarettes represent a safer alternative to smoking and that they can help some people in their efforts to quit. If government is serious about reducing smoking among the population, they owe it to these people to conveniently provide a better alternative,” Rogut said.

“Convenience stores are proven responsible retailers and have the potential role to play at the coal face, conveniently providing adult consumers a healthier, safer choice. The longer the issue is bogged down in debate, the less support we are providing people who smoke,” Rogut said.

Rogut said the time is right to set a framework in place for the legal sale of e-cigarettes, before the black market fills the gap – as it has done so effectively in the market for traditional tobacco products.

“The sharp rise in the illicit market for tobacco, and the disastrous health and economic implications of the growth of this market, reinforces the importance of getting the framework for the responsible sale of e-cigarettes right,” Rogut said.

“As proven by their responsible sale of restricted products like lottery tickets and tobacco, convenience stores are more than capable of responsibly selling these products,” he said.

The AACS supports restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, ensuring the products are child tamper proof, contain an ingredients list and meet minimum safety and quality standards.

Rogut said e-cigarettes could provide real economic opportunities for small businesses like convenience stores in their efforts to compete against the major chains. E-cigarette products are suited to the convenience store model and have significant potential to drive revenue growth.

“E-cigarettes are a potential solution to reduce the incidence of smoking. We need to give them a chance to succeed,” he added.

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