The controversial vaping debate has heated up with news Philip Morris has applied to the Therapeutic Goods Administration to legalise one of its products.
The tobacco giant has submitted an application to amend laws to allow for the sale of heated tobacco products in Australia.
Currently in Australia, only nicotine in “tobacco prepared and packed for smoking” can be
The Philip Morris application requests legalisation of the sale of nicotine in “tobacco prepared and packed for heating”.
Heated tobacco products are available in more than 50 countries, and Philip Morris says scientific assessment shows they produce lower levels of toxic chemicals than cigarettes.
But the news has outraged vaping advocates who say it’s bad news for Australian vapers and smokers wishing to switch to vaping.
Heated tobacco devices heat real tobacco within a specific temperature range, while e-cigarettes vaporise an e-liquid solution containing nicotine.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has insisted that vaping products would need to be approved by the TGA.
Legalise Vaping Australia campaign director Brian Marlow said today was a “very dark day” for hundreds of vape retailers and manufacturers who had developed their own safe vape products but do not have the millions of dollars required to go through the TGA process that Mr Hunt was demanding.
“This is a retrograde move orchestrated by our Federal Government and is designed to protect Big Tobacco and kill off Australia’s rapidly growing vaping industry which is made up of small family retail businesses and highly innovative and world-leading e-liquid manufacturers,” he said.
“Australia’s 300,000 vapers and 2.6 million smokers should not be forced to access just one TGA approved nicotine vaping product owned by a multinational tobacco company, but they should have the freedom to purchase one of the many hundreds of combinations of available vaping products that suits them and helps them quit smoking.
“It is now patently clear that everything Greg Hunt has said and done as health minister has been to serve the interests of Big Tobacco and to kill off Australia’s independent vape sector.”
Mr Marlow said there needed to be a fair go for vapers.
“If there are going to be any moves to legalise heated tobacco, then it stands to reason that all appropriately manufactured vaping products should be legalised too,” he said.
Philip Morris managing director Tammy Chan said extensive scientific research showed that the vast majority of chemicals associated with smoking were generated by burning.
“Unlike cigarettes, heated tobacco products do not burn tobacco and are a better alternative
for people who would otherwise continue to smoke,” she said.
“Smokers who switch to scientifically substantiated heated tobacco products can significantly reduce their exposure to many of the toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
“While not risk free, they are a better alternative to continued smoking.”
She said it was a public health issue that policymakers must address.
“Our application is based on years of rigorous scientific research and studies,” she said.
“We believe that the adoption of proper product standards and appropriate regulation to
ensure product safety and integrity are critically important. Equally important is regulation to
ensure how, where and to whom the products are sold to.”
Ms Chan said it was undeniable that the best thing a smoker could do was to quit tobacco and nicotine altogether.