Call to legalise e-cigarettes

Date:14/12/12
Call to legalise e-cigarettes

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In research to be published in the Journal of Law and Medicine today, Notre Dame school of law lecturer Marilyn Krawitz says the current approach is leading to poor quality imported e-cigarettes and depriving the Federal Government of revenue that would be generated if the devices were made and sold in Australia.
 
Dr Krawitz argues that legalising the sale of the devices will have benefits for health, safety, protecting young people and government revenue.
 
Nationally, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes that contain nicotine. WA is one of three States where it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes.
 
A WA Supreme Court test case after an appeal by the Health Department led to a ruling that e-cigarettes being sold by a Duncraig company that did not contain nicotine were still in breach of tobacco laws because they were designed to look like a real cigarette.
 
In her paper, Dr Krawitz said the reality was many Australians were importing e-cigarettes that were illegal to sell in Australia and were using them personally or selling them on the black market.
 
She said while devices that contained nicotine could have negative effects on health, e-cigarettes were less damaging because they did not contain the tar and other toxins in real cigarettes. There had also been research that found smokers who used the devices were more likely to quit traditional cigarettes or smoke less.
 
WA Health Minister Kim Hames said there was no evidence to suggest e-cigarettes were an effective tool for those wanting to quit smoking.