First Ever ‘Switch to Vaping’ Campaign Launched in Australia
Australia has launched its first campaign for tobacco harm reduction. The campaing aims to encourage tobacco smokers -unable or unwilling to to quit- to switch to vaping. This is great news in a country where vaping had many enemies.
The campaign called “Switch to Vaping” has been launched by leading Australian tobacco harm reduction advocates at a time when smoking rates have plateaued in Australia according to the country’s latest National Health Survey.
Compared with 16 percent three years ago, 15.2 percent of Australian adults smoked between 2017 and 2018, according to the latest national survey this month. The findings are consistent with findings from other Australian national and state surveys which has shown that smoking rates across Australia have stagnated since 2013 and are rising in New South Wales and South Australia.
Conjoint Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn, Chairman of the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA), said it was time to try new approaches and educate smokers in Australia about the health and economic benefits from a switch to vaping.
“If current smokers who are unable or unwilling to give up smoking can make the transition to e-cigarettes, they will feel better, save a lot of money and suffer much less harm than they do by smoking cigarettes,” said Dr Mendelsohn.
“E-cigarettes are the most popular smoking cessation tool in the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union and have helped millions of smokers quit. This option should also be available to Australian smokers” Dr Mendelsohn said. “Vaping is not without risk, but scientists agree that vaping is far less harmful compared with smoking”.
“The hazard to health arising from long-term vapor inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5 percent of the harm from smoking cigarettes”, according to the UK Royal College of Physicians report in 2016.
Michael Collins from Ryde in Sydney features in one of the vignettes which are prepared for the campaign. He began using e-cigarettes in mid-2018 and says the benefits are significant.
“It’s much easier to go upstairs since I switched to e-cigarettes. Before I switched to vaping, I would feel out of breath after I reached my old office on the second floor. However, since I switched to e-cigarettes, my lung function has improved and climbing stairs is no longer my problem. My sense of smell has returned too. After a few weeks of quitting, I feel much healthier. Besides, I have saved a lot of money. A pack of heavily taxed cigarettes is very expensive. But I only spend as little as $40 a week on vaping, so I’ve saved much money,” said Michael.
Australia is one of the countries that have strict restrictions on e-cigarettes in the world. The regulations may vary from state to state but in Australia it is basically illegal to vape with nicotine if you don’t have a doctor’s prescription.
“This is acting as a major barrier to adult smokers accessing what is clearly a less harmful alternative to cigarettes,” said ATHRA Director Joe Kosterich.
“Compared with other similar countries, it is clearly more difficult to obtain e-cigarettes in Australia. But there are still legal ways available for smokers who want to switch to vaping. This campaign will educate smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking about how to make the transition from smoking to vaping in a legal way in Australia,” said Dr Kosterich.
If you want to find more information about the campaign, you can visit www.athra.org.au/switchtovaping.
Ryan is a writer, editor and content creator who spends most of his time bringing the interesting, entertaining, original and well-written articles to vapers. He believes that vaping is not only a healthier alternative to smoking, but also a great experience of life.