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Australia: Major political party emerges as pro-vaping for the first time

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A division of the Liberal Party of Australia has called on the State Opposition to legalise vaping.

The Western Australia branch of the political party passed a motion at its state conference earlier this week calling for the legalisation of vaping.

The motion passed overwhelmingly 76 to 56, another first for vaping in the country which has the highest cigarette prices in the world.

While not bound by law, this is the first time that either of the major political parties down under has adopted a pro-vaping policy in any Australian state.

There has been plenty of activity in the vape-campaign in Australia in recent weeks. WA Liberal Democrat MLC Aaron Stonehouse announced a petition to legalise vaping which is aiming for 50,000 signatures. Meanwhile, polling in by-elections in both Perth and Freemantle both show support for e-cigarettes across the political divide.

On its website, the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA) reacted to the motion passing saying it is “a significant step forward.”

“Despite the highest cigarette prices in the world and plain packaging … smoking rates in Australia have not fallen between 2013 and 2016. In addition, the rates of smoking in Indigenous populations, prison and homeless populations and those with mental health problems far exceeds the rates in latte strip suburbs inhabited by many in public health.

Nicotine is what keeps people smoking but it is not a carcinogen and has relatively minor health effects, except possibly in pregnancy. It is already available in patch and chewing gum form. Yet many are still unable to quit. Many who have switched to vaping report it changed their lives.

Nothing on earth is harm-free but vaping at 95 percent less harmful has to be better than smoking. Even at only 50 percent less harmful it would be worthwhile.”

There was also some reaction on Twitter, with the majority of commentators seeing the news as a positive for the ongoing struggle of the Australian vape-campaign.

 

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