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Public health experts slam Government advice on vaping

Posted on November 17, 2019

Doctors and public health experts are demanding the Federal Government overhaul its advice on vaping nicotine, accusing it of “scaremongering” and forcing people back to cigarettes.

By Annika Smethurst, National Political Editor, The Sunday Telegraph, 17 November 2019. Available online here.

Doctors and tobacco experts have slammed the latest government guidelines on e-cigarettes claiming it exaggerates the harms of vaping nicotine and is forcing people back to smoking.

New advice released last week on a government health website claims “e-cigarettes are not proven to be effective in helping people give up smoking”. The article also said there was new evidence linking “electronic cigarettes and lung disease”.

“Several deaths in the United States have been linked to vaping,” the government’s Health Direct website states.

The article has angered public health experts including Dr Colin Mendelsohn who has again joined forces with other leading smoking experts to write to the Government’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy, urging the Government to reconsider its advice (letter available here).

Associate Professor Mendelsohn told The Sunday Telegraph the Government was “scaremongering” by linking e-cigarettes to recent deaths and lung injuries in the US.

“Smokers deserve accurate information to make their own choices. This needs to be called out,” he said.

“The current statement implies that vaping nicotine with e-cigarettes is the cause of the outbreak of severe lung injury in the US.’

“It is now clear that the vast majority of cases, if not all, are due to vaping black market, contaminated cannabis oils purchased from street dealers.”

Prof Mendelsohn said vaping nicotine is an “effective and popular quitting aid” citing research from the United Kingdom which found 70,000 smokers had given up cigarettes in 2017 by vaping nicotine.

The letter, which is signed by leading public health experts including Dr Joe Kosterich and Professor Wayne Hall, calls the Government to provide “more accurate information” to make sure those who have successfully quit don’t return to smoking.

A spokesman for the Department of Health told The Sunday Telegraph the Government was taking a “precautionary approach” to e-cigarettes while it monitors the evidence.

“The outbreak of lung disease and death associated with e-cigarette product use in the United States is still being investigated … and the Government will continue to monitor the situation,” the spokesperson said. The Department said there was “insufficient evidence to promote the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation”.

In Australia, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death but nearly three million Australians continue to smoke. recent data shows smoking rates in the UK and US — where vaping is legal — are falling faster than in Australia.

Last year Health Minister Greg Hunt bowed to pressure from pro-vaping colleagues in the Liberal Party and commissioned research on the potential health benefits of e-cigarettes, which isn’t due until December 2020. A spokesman for Mr Hunt said the Minister “continues to express his concerns regarding the safety of vaping”. “There is no safe tobacco product,” he said.

Letter to Chief Medical Officer, 7 November 2019


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5 Replies to “Public health experts slam Government advice on vaping”

Rikki Smedley

I think Mr Hunt summed up his lack of knowledge on vaping when he said, “There is no safe tobacco product,” vaping does not contain tobacco, the same as patches or gum. They are not considered tobacco products, so why should vaping?


Good one. About time these so called health poli's were made accountable for their words.


A quote from the article: "A spokesman for Mr Hunt said the Minister “continues to express his concerns regarding the safety of vaping”. “There is no safe tobacco product,” he said."

WHEN WHEN WHEN will they understand that vaping (e-liquid containing nicotine) is NOT NOT NOT a tobacco product?!?!?!?

Am I being rude for shouting? No, I just utterly frustrated with the IGNORANCE of those people!


Its not ignorance Dingo its arrogance . They wrongly assume that we will believe the verbal diarrhea that spills from their mouth . They are trying to protect the tax money they make from smokers and the big pharma produced products such as gum patches and sprays . All of the above failed to help me kick the smoking habbit. Then came vaping whete i was able to control the decrease in nicotine that i added to my liquid to a point where i now am free of nicotine altogether. No smoking for over 3 years now . Anytime Mr Greg Hunt that you want to debate the validity of vaping as a smoking cessation alternative with someone who has other peoples HEALTH at heart and not the kickbacks or tax i am available and ready to tear your argument to shreds with facts and studies done by professionals in medicine not professionals in bs


I downloaded this excellent letter from Dr Mendlesohn & others to use here in the U. S. in our own fight agajnst the antivaping forces here, which are formidable. As in Australia the urge to ban flavored e-cigarettes to counter a manufactured teen vaping epedemic is strong. Two states have succeeded in bans. Maybe four other state bans are held up in court. The latest is amazingly New York City's ban on flavors which will put vape shops out of business and limit choices for nicotine vapers. Possibly pushing people back to tobacco cigarettes. The Govenors & others are indifferent to smokers & vapers need for these products. They are unwilling to put public health above special interest. I thank Dr. Mendlesohn & his team for their efforts in Australia to clarify e-cigarette's harm reduction potental to authorities there & for the vaping community at large..

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