Department of Health officials gave evidence to Senate Estimates this week with significant attention focused on the pending legalisation of the sale of nicotine-based vaping products in Australia.
It is currently illegal in Australia to sell e-cigarettes that contain nicotine. However, as of 1 October, people will be able to access nicotine e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping products from within Australia.
Speaking at Senate Estimates this week, Department of Health officials said they hoped the products would be made widely available through community pharmacy.
However, the AMA is far from supportive with President Dr Omar Khorshid saying it puts the positive impact of "decades of public health initiatives" at risk.
“The tobacco industry uses its economic power, lobbying and manipulation of the media to discredit research and influence governments to minimise restrictions on the marketing and availability of tobacco.
“They aggressively oppose all effective tobacco control policies, such as curbs on advertising, graphic health warnings, increases in tobacco tax, and plain packaging,” Dr Khorshid said.
“They are currently spending millions of dollars to persuade our politicians to support the introduction of nicotine e-cigarettes. Nicotine vaping products are growing in popularity among young Australians. Meanwhile, the National Retail Association has consistently promoted the policy position of the tobacco industry to make nicotine e-cigarettes available as an ordinary consumer item.
“The AMA is highly concerned about the uptake of these products among young Australians, especially because of the clear evidence that young people who use vaping products are much more likely to go on to smoke tobacco. Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, and Imperial Tobacco all own e-cigarette brands.
“Big Tobacco is also ruthlessly exploiting social media platforms for promotion of their products and using corporate social responsibility activities to polish their tarnished image. They’re undermining the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to which all Australian governments are signatories.”