AMA says tightening of tobacco and vaping laws a win for public health

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The Australian Medical Association has lodged its submission to the Department of Health and Aged Care’s consultation on the legislation restricting access to tobacco and vaping products.

The association said it had offered its "broad support" for the measures included in the Public Health (Tobacco and Other Products) Legislation 2023.

In May, health minister Mark Butler announced a plan to ban the importation of nicotine e-cigarettes unless they comply with a TGA standard, ban flavours, and single-use disposable vapes, and enforce a prohibition on their sale via retail settings.

“The new legislation will bring together a range of existing laws and will simplify current tobacco laws by bringing multiple pieces of legislation into a single Bill,” said AMA President Professor Steve Robson.

“For too long, Australia has had too many loopholes and blind spots in which the predatory tobacco industry has been able to lure our younger generations into taking up recreational vaping.

“The ease of access, the bright colours and fruity flavours, and false assertions the products were free of nicotine have all contributed to an imminent public health disaster. Right under our noses we saw generations quitting cigarettes while young Australians were taking up vapes.”

The AMA also used its submission to argue for a ban on political donations and contributions by tobacco companies.

“We want parties on all sides to get real and refuse to enter arrangements that clearly compromise government policy-making on public health matters," said Professor Robson.

“The only reason the tobacco and e-cigarette industry is lobbying politicians is to try to create conditions that foster and support the growth of their businesses. Legal and political efforts by the tobacco industry have hampered tobacco control efforts. We need politicians to put the health of all Australians ahead of the dirty dollars received from big tobacco.”