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First ever “Switch to vaping” campaign launched in Australia

Posted on December 18, 2018

The first ever Australian campaign that encourages adult tobacco smokers who can’t or won’t quit to switch to vaping to reduce the harm from smoking has been launched today in Australia. Many smokers will try to quit as a New Year's resolution but most will fail. Vaping allows smokers to enjoy an experience similar to smoking, with a greatly reduced risk of harm and reduced cost.

The campaign - “Switch2Vaping” - has been developed by the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association at a time when data from Australia’s latest National Health Survey confirms that smoking rates have plateaued in Australia.

According to the national survey this month, 15.2% of Australians adults smoked in 2017-18 compared to 16% three years ago. These findings are consistent with other Australian national and state surveys which have shown that smoking rates have stagnated nationally since 2013 or are rising in New South Wales and South Australia.

ATHRA believes the time has come to try new approaches and to educate Australian smokers about the health and financial benefits that would result from a switch to vaping.

If current smokers who can’t or won’t quit are able to make the transition to vaping, then the evidence is quite clear. They’ll feel better, save a lot of money and expose themselves to much less harm than they do by smoking cigarettes.

Vaping is the most popular quitting aid in the United Kingdom, United States and European Union and has helped millions of smokers quit. This option should also be available for Australian smokers. Vaping is not risk-free, but scientists agree that it is far less harmful than smoking.

According to the UK Royal College of Physicians report in 2016 “the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco”.

Michael Collins (right) from Ryde in Sydney features in one of the vignettes prepared for the campaign. He switched to vaping in mid-2018 and says the benefits have been significant.

“Since I’ve switched to vaping I’ve been able to walk upstairs a lot easier. My old office was two flight of stairs to go up and I would feel short of breath going up those. Since I’ve switched to vaping my lung function has improved and climbing stairs is not an issue for me anymore. My sense of smell came back. It just felt healthier within weeks of stopping smoking. Plus I’m saving a lot of money. Cigarettes with the huge taxes are quite expensive for a pack. But I might spend just $40 a week on vaping, so I’m saving a lot of money,” said Michael.

Click here to see a short video of Michael's story.
Click here for Dianne's video (pictured above).

Australia is one of the most restrictive countries in the world when it comes to vaping. Regulations vary by state but it is essentially illegal to vape with nicotine in Australia without a doctor’s prescription.

This is acting as a major barrier to smokers accessing what is clearly a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.

It is obviously more difficult to access vaping in Australia than other similar countries. But there are still legal avenues available to smokers who want to switch to vaping. This campaign will educate smokers who can’t or won’t quit smoking about how to legally make the transition to vaping in Australia.

For more information about the campaign, click here.

Posted by Colin Mendelsohn,

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6 Replies to “First ever “Switch to vaping” campaign launched in Australia”


I'd really like to know how one goes about getting a prescription when doctors don't seem to know what I'm talking about or where to look.
I have not encountered one person who has obtained a prescription for nicotine from their regular GP.


Hi Sharon,
Unfortunately GPs are reluctant to prescribe nicotine because of the opposition of the medical, health and government bodies. There are a handful of GPs in Australia who are willing to help. If you write to me at I can give you more information.

Smokers who can't quit have a choice of either dying from smoking (2 in 3) OR breaking the law and vaping illegaly. Many choose the latter. They should not be put in this position.


This is one of the greatest campaigns to save lives in the history of Australia. Kudos to ATHRA for taking the initiative to help people make the switch from smoking to vaping, which has been proven worldwide to be a significantly less harmful choice. Make that New Year's resolution now!

Tony Joyce

I switched from cigarettes to vaping 5 years ago this Christmas & haven’t looked back since, the health benefits are immense.


Hi Sharon,
You can get a prescription from the Nicopharm website.

Ruana V.

I live in Austria, EU and I'm a vaped. After 43 years of smoking 2 packs of cigarettes per day and countless tries to quit I finally made it – with the help of a vape device. Therefore I was quite shocked to read that Australians need a medical prescription to be able to buy vape juice containing nicotine. And I wondered: Are you allowed to buy cigarettes in Australia? Do they contain nicotine? Do you need a prescription to buy nicotine replacement products like patches and gums? I don't understand this law. How do they justify such prohibitions? Surely the public must see how unjust this restriction is…

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