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E-cigarettes and vaping
The Liberal National government is taking an informed and considered approach to e-cigarettes and is continuing to monitor emerging evidence regarding their safety, role in smoking cessation, dual use with conventional tobacco products and concerns around take-up by non-smokers. The Government’s position on e-cigarettes is based on the need to consider the overall impacts that e-cigarettes pose to population health, including on non-smokers and smokers.
The Ministerial Drug and Alcohol Forum, which includes Commonwealth and state and territory Ministers, has agreed to national guiding principles for e-cigarettes. The guiding principles, which can be found on the Department of Health's website here, reflect the Government’s considered approach to e-cigarettes and affirm that the current national regulatory framework remains appropriate.
The existing evidence indicates that e-cigarettes are not harmless products. On 3 April 2017, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health and Medical Research Council issued an updated statement on e-cigarettes, which notes that there is insufficient evidence to support claims that e-cigarettes are safe or to conclude whether e-cigarettes can assist smokers to quit.
More broadly, the Government recognises the need for further research into e-cigarettes and notes that the NHMRC has funded ten grants, committing over $8.5 million for research into e-cigarettes since 2011.
Additionally, the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, recently commissioned an independent expert inquiry by the ANU School of Epidemiology, The results of this inquiry will advise on the scientific evidence for and against e-cigarettes as an aid for individuals to quit smoking and reduce the harm of tobacco.