Nationals Have Little To Be Proud Of On Vaping Reforms

The National Party’s position on vaping is a tax grab that shows a complete disregard for the health of Australians.

In a letter to Nationals leader David Littleproud, AMA President Professor Steve Robson denounced the party’s proposal to impose an excise on vapes and called on the party to cut the cord with Big Tobacco donors.

“This is just a tax policy masquerading as a health policy,” Professor Robson said.

“Slapping a tax on vapes will do nothing to minimise the harmful impacts of vaping, and any perceived benefit from a lift in tax revenue would be vastly outweighed by the significant costs to the health system of an entire generation addicted to nicotine and toxic vapes.

“Arguing for more funding for rural Australia is a worthy cause but raising that money from a new generation of kids hooked on nicotine, and more people going on to take up smoking, is a horrendous proposition.”

The AMA urges the Coalition to support the federal government’s vaping reforms, which will ban the domestic manufacture, supply, commercial possession and advertisement of disposable and non-therapeutic vapes.

These restrictions will prevent widespread access to vapes, while upholding the role of GPs in providing evidence-based care for people dealing with nicotine addiction.

Professor Robson said there was still time for the Nationals to reverse the party’s ill-conceived opposition to the reforms and vote in favour of the legislation in the Senate this week.

“It is horrendous that the National Party has been accepting thousands of dollars in dirty donations from big tobacco companies and is choosing to ignore the advice of public health experts when it comes to vaping,” Professor Robson said.

“Mr Littleproud and the Nationals need to put the health of our children first and say ‘no’ to toxic vapes; ‘no’ to harming the health of Australian children; and ‘no’ to the shameful tactics of Big Tobacco.”

Last month, the AMA joined 11 of the country’s leading education and school parent groups to call on the Senate to pass the federal government’s vaping reforms.

Today, the AMA is part of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health’s open letter to all MPs from dozens of prominent organisations and individuals representing doctors, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, public health experts, advocates, guardians, teachers and parents asking them to be on the right side of history.

“It’s time to listen to the experts and pass this legislation, for the health of all Australians,” Professor Robson said.

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