Monday, 12 November 2018
Before I move the motion I wish to add the names of Senator Hanson and Senator Bernardi. I, and also on behalf of Senators Leyonhjelm, Hanson and Bernardi, move:
That the Senate—
(a) acknowledges that:
(i) smoking is the largest preventable cause of death in Australia,
(ii) successive Commonwealth Governments have used increased excise levels as the primary mechanism to deter smokers from maintaining their habit,
(iii) there is growing evidence that vaping has helped many smokers to quit, and
(iv) a growing number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand have already legalised vaping;
(b) notes that:
(i) a recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare survey found that, despite the Government's policy to reduce smoking rates, the national smoking rate had, in fact, not declined in the period 2013-16,
(ii) last month, the CSIRO released a study confirming e-cigarettes assisted smokers in quitting,
(iii) a poll conducted by the Australian Retailers Association showed 61% of Australians support the legalisation of vaping and e-cigarettes, and
(iv) despite the above, under current Australian law, it is illegal to purchase, possess or use liquid nicotine for vaping without a prescription from a registered Australian medical practitioner; and
(c) calls on the Federal Government to immediately introduce legislation to legalise the sale, possession and use of liquid nicotine without restriction.
E-cigarette regulation is a shared responsibility between the Commonwealth and the state and territory governments. The current regulatory framework draws on existing legislation and regulations that may apply to tobacco products, therapeutic goods, poisons and consumer goods. The government takes an evidence based approach to these matters and will be commissioning some additional research to help inform policymaking in this area.