AMA appears at Senate inquiry on tobacco regulation

The AMA has warned a Senate inquiry that Australia must not repeat the same mistakes with cigarettes when it comes to implementing regulation on vaping products.

It is crucial Australia does not repeat the mistakes made with cigarettes when it comes to regulating vaping products, the AMA has told a Senate inquiry.

AMA (NSW) President Dr Michael Bonning represented the federal AMA at a Senate inquiry for the Public Health (Tobacco and Other Products) Bill, which includes new restrictions on advertisements.

“It took decades for the health harms of tobacco to come to light, with the powerful tobacco industry disputing the evidence and relentlessly promoting their addictive products,” Dr Bonning told the inquiry on Wednesday.

“We see the same tactics at play today with vapes, hooking a new generation onto nicotine by marketing directly to younger people and downplaying the health harms.

“We do not want to make the same mistakes we did with cigarettes.”

Dr Bonning told the inquiry the AMA supported the proposed legislation, as it includes evidence-based measures to “revitalise Australia’s tobacco and vaping control measures” to protect young Australians from harm.

“We are glad to see the bill introduces prohibition measures for vaping advertising, bringing it into line with tobacco product prohibitions,” he said.

“We eagerly await the bill’s restrictions on social media marketing, as we know this targets individuals, especially young individuals, based on algorithms.”

Dr Bonning also called on all political parties to stop accepting sponsorship, gifts or political donations from the tobacco industry, as it “clearly compromises government policy on public health matters”.

“The AMA also strongly advocates for vaping reform to be urgently implemented, including the implementing of a retail ban on all vapes to protect younger people becoming addicted to nicotine,” he said.

Watch Dr Bonning’s opening address

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