ACT regulation of electronic cigarettes will become more restrictive in line with NSW and Queensland next year under planned changes to legislation related to the devices.
The new laws will ban the sale of e-cigarettes to children and place restrictions on their promotion via advertisements, display and marketing. It will also prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in smoke-free areas.
ACT Health Minister Simon said that potential harm to public health warranted a precautionary approach despite the unknowns around risks and benefits of e-cigarettes.
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“The ACT Government’s approach is consistent with advice from the National Health and Medical Research Council to minimise any potential harms to the community pending further evidence on the safety, quality and efficacy of e-cigarettes,” he said.
“We particularly want to prevent the uptake of e-cigarettes by non-smokers, including children and young people.”
The ACT’s adult daily smoking rate remains the lowest in Australia at 9.9%.
“The proposed restrictions aim to protect public health, without constraining access to non-nicotine e?cigarettes by smokers wanting to quit,” Mr Corbell said.
“The Government is aware that a number of Canberrans are using e-cigarettes to support their quit attempts. However, nicotine-containing e-cigarettes have not been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration as a quit smoking aid and it will remain illegal to sell or possess e-cigarettes that contain nicotine without a licence under the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008.”
The ACT Government undertook a public consultation on e-cigarettes in late 2014. A total of 242 submissions were received, including from individuals, business owners and public health organisations.
“The consultation told us there is concern within the community about the possible health risks of e?cigarettes,” Mr Corbell said.
“The legislation to be introduced next year will prohibit e-cigarette sales to under-18s, ban sales by vending machine, and restrict in-store and point-of-sale advertisements and displays. E-cigarette promotions, inclusion in customer reward schemes, sponsorships and product giveaways will also be banned.
“To prevent the renormalisation of tobacco smoking, e-cigarette use will be prohibited in smoke-free areas.”
The approach to the regulation of e-cigarettes announced by the ACT Government is in line with that introduced by the Queensland Government in January this year. It also aligns with recent amendments introduced by the New South Wales Government.