Australian Researchers Say Vaping is Bad, But Lobbyists Say Smoking is Worse

Australian Researchers Say Vaping is Bad, But Lobbyists Say Smoking is Worse
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The Australian National University today released findings from a study it did that said vaping is harmful and causing youth to get addicted to nicotine.

According to ANU, “e-cigarettes, or vapes, are causing harm and risk introducing a new generation to smoking”. The government-funded study declares that young non-smokers who vape are around three times as likely to take up smoking than non-vapers.

“Nicotine use in children and adolescents can lead to lifelong addiction issues as well as difficulties in concentration and learning. Vaping is also illegal if it isn’t on prescription,” lead author Professor Emily Banks from the ANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health said.

I want to pause here for a moment to say that obviously taking up vaping if you weren’t previously a cigarette smoker is a terrible idea. As Banks said in the quote above, it can lead to lifelong addiction. But as Legalise Vaping Australia noted in its rebuttal, the report “fails to address the most critical public health question – the risks of vaping relative to smoking cigarettes”.

“We didn’t need two and half years, millions of taxpayers dollars and phone book style, padded out report to tell us that vaping e-liquid carries some level of harm to the body,” Legalise Vaping Australia campaign director Brian Marlow said.

“Some of the summary findings, especially on whether vaping can be a successful quit tool, are in direct contradiction to findings of other studies, including one published in a peer-reviewed journal by researchers at the University of Queensland, which found that smokers who vaped daily were 100 per cent more likely to quit smoking in Australia.”

According to Banks, limited evidence was found that nicotine e-cigarettes were effective to help people quit smoking in a clinical setting. She also said: “Most people who quit smoking successfully do so unaided”. I think it’s safe to assume Banks has never been a smoker.

While vaping worked for me as a gateway to get off the analogue darts, it’s still an addiction to nicotine.

“Vapes deliver hundreds of chemicals – some of them known to be toxic and many others with unknown effects,” Banks continued.

The ANU vaping study was commissioned by Minister for Health Greg Hunt.

In June 2020, Hunt declared vaping was bad. As a result, Australia (sort of) banned vaping – it made it illegal to import vape juice containing nicotine products without a script.

While Legalise Vaping Australia agrees the risks to youth must be acknowledged, it says smokers should still have widespread access to cigarettes for the purpose of quitting smoking. The report is 367 pages long and can be found here.