Cancer Council Queensland has commended the Queensland Government for becoming the first state in Australia to subject e-cigarettes to the same laws as regular cigarettes.
The amendments to the Tobacco Act will become effective from 1 January 2015, and will ensure the same tough restrictions on regular cigarettes will be applied to all electronic cigarettes.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Professor Jeff Dunn AO welcomed the new laws, following the Cancer Council’s call for tough regulation of the sale and use of e-cigarettes.
“E-cigarettes are a significant threat to public health – no e-cigarette has been tested for quality, safety or performance by the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” Prof Dunn said.
“The liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes is currently illegal in Australia and has not been deemed safe for use by medical experts and health authorities.
“These new laws are an important step toward a smoke free future, and another great step in ensuring the health and safety of Queenslanders in their local communities.
“The laws will prevent e-cigarettes from being sold to children, ban their use in indoor or outdoor public places, and ensure no promotion or advertisement of the products in retail outlets.
“We commend the Health Minister for his leadership on this issue, addressing public health concerns about the health effects of the use and exposure of e-cigarettes.”
The move follows a recent recommendation by the WHO for tougher regulation of e-cigarettes, and evidence from the United States that young people who smoke e-cigarettes are nearly twice as likely to intend smoking regular cigarettes in future.
“With a lack of long-term scientific evidence to support the safety of e-cigarettes, it is a serious concern their use could lead to nicotine addiction and the uptake of tobacco smoking among young people,” Prof Dunn said.
“The Health Minister’s action on this issue will further discourage our next generation from taking up smoking, continuing our progress towards a smoke free Queensland.”
The new laws allow Queensland Health environmental officers to issue on-the-spot fines of around $220 to e-cigarette smokers. Penalties to retailers also apply.
Cancer Council Queensland is also continuing calls for the State Government to introduce new laws creating smoke free public places across the state.
“Smoke free spaces will protect people from the harmful effects of smoking, encourage more smokers to quit, and prevent more young people from taking up this lethal habit,” Prof Dunn said.
“The community is increasingly aware of the harmful health impacts of smoking, with the majority of Queenslanders supporting the creation of statewide smoke free places at bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and pedestrian malls.”
It’s estimated around 3000 Queenslanders will die from a tobacco-related disease each year. About 300 of these deaths are caused by second-hand smoke exposure.
Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848), or join the QUEST to quit at www.quest.org.au.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171