AACS supports e-cigarette sale in convenience stores
Australia needs to develop a framework for the responsible sale of e-cigarettes before the black market fills the gap, the CEO of the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores has said.
AACS CEO Jeff Rogut said Australia must be part of the growing international movement that recognises e-cigarette as one the most widely used and effective products to help people quit smoking. Rogut outlined various key issues to be considered in developing an appropriate framework for the legal sale of e-cigarettes.
“The AACS supports restrictions on the sale of e-cigarette products to minors, ensuring e-cigarettes and associated products are child tamper proof, contain an ingredients list, comply with quality standards and are manufactured and sold with strict safety standards in place,” Rogut said.
“Convenience stores are proven responsible retailers of restricted products like lottery tickets and tobacco and are completely capable of responsibly selling e-cigarettes as well, providing adult consumers a healthier, safer choice,” he said.
“The more readily available these products are, the greater their chance of success. This naturally extends to other safe stop-smoking products as well, such as nicotine gums and patches, which are restricted to pharmacy and supermarket sale yet require no medical expertise from staff members.”
To give e-cigarettes the best chance of helping to reduce the incidence of smoking, Rogut said it is necessary for government to recognise their health potential and not view these products as another source of tax revenue.
“If e-cigarettes are too heavily taxed it may discourage or prevent people from investigating this solution, especially people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who make up a large proportion of Australians who smoke,” Rogut said.
The AACS has lent its support to various health bodies and government authorities in the UK in calling for more information and greater transparency about the use and impacts of e-cigarettes.
Public Health England and numerous other UK public health organisations have just released a joint statement on developing a public health consensus on e-cigarettes, products they state “are the most popular quitting tool in the country with more than 10 times as many people using them than using local stop smoking services”.
Rogut said the UK approach represents a key step forward in recognising that e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to smoking and have a real and significant role to play in helping some smokers kick the habit.
“The fact that the UK’s most authoritative and respected public health bodies are calling for a public conversation to improve the general public’s awareness of the use and effects of e-cigarettes demonstrates the enormous opportunity these products provide.
“The writing is on the wall and governments in Australia ignore it at their peril: e-cigarettes are a potential solution to reduce smoking and we need to give them a chance to succeed.
“We owe it to Australians looking to quit smoking to make this option readily available to them. The UK’s leading public health institutions have set a powerful precedent in this regard and the AACS supports a similar stance here,” Mr Rogut said.
Closer to home, the New Nicotine Alliance and other health experts have previously called on government to lift the ban on e-cigarettes so the potential for these products to help smokers quit can be realised.