Media release

Vaping changes risk legitimising a dangerous product

Current government approaches to the supply and sale of vapes run the risk of inadvertently legitimising them as a therapeutic product without robust evidence that they work and are safe.

AMA Queensland President Dr Nick Yim has urged a parliamentary inquiry to consider carefully the unintended ramifications of the current approach to the proposed reforms.

“As doctors, our preference would be that vapes are treated for what they are – unproven and potentially dangerous, not a first- or even second-line smoking cessation treatment,” Dr Yim said.

“There are so many clinically-proven options that we know work and are readily available. I prescribe them to my patients every week.

“I would not risk prescribing vapes to anyone, especially not a child, and I do not know of any doctor who would prescribe vapes to under-18s.

“However, laws recently passed the federal parliament which would allow vapes to be prescribed to under 18s.

“AMA Queensland’s preference is that children and adults do not vape and are directed to proven quit therapies instead. That is the best way to protect the health of our community.

“If governments are nonetheless going to implement a prescription- or pharmacy-only model, we would urge careful consideration of the points made in our submission.

“Most importantly, there must remain a separation between the prescribing or authorising of a vaping product and its sale.

“We have seen Big Tobacco unscrupulously target our hard-working pharmacy colleagues to induce them to stock their products.

“I used to be a pharmacist. I’ve been speaking to many of them and they don’t want to be pressured to sell vapes over proven treatments. They especially don’t want to sell them to kids.

“The Queensland Government has only recently passed laws to prevent children from being exposed to smoking and vaping in the places they go, like school car parks. These changes are vital to protect children from the associated harms.

“It would be nonsensical to create a situation where those state laws may need exemptions so children addicted to and allowed to use vapes under federal laws are not forced to stay home from school.”

The AMA Queensland submission to the Health, Environment and Agriculture Inquiry into the Vaping Bill is here.

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