Fourty leading international and Australian academics and researchers including myself have written to the Therapeutics Goods Administration in support of an application to make lower concentrations of nicotine available for use within e-cigarettes (“vaping”).

Around Australia, it really is illegal to possess or use nicotine other than in tobacco or nicotine-replacement products, as nicotine is classified inside the Poisons Standard being a Schedule 7 “dangerous poison”.

Since the primary addictive element of tobacco smoke, nicotine is area of the problem. However, this may also be portion of the solution. Using clean nicotine in e-cigarettes provides smokers with an alternative way to get the nicotine to which these are addicted with no tobacco smoke that causes almost all the harm from smoking.

In addition to delivering nicotine, e-cigarettes replicate several main reasons from the “smoking experience”. This includes the hand-to-mouth movement and also the sensory and social elements of the habit that smokers so often miss once they attempt to quit.

How harmful is nicotine?

The results of nicotine are relatively minor. It is not a carcinogen and will not cause respiratory disease. It provides only relatively minor effects on the heart, like short-lived rises in heartbeat and blood pressure levels, constriction of coronary arteries and an increase in the contracting from the heart muscle.

Nicotine in pregnancy harms the baby’s developing brain and lungs and reduces growth. It is also damaging to the adolescent brain, delays wound healing and increases insulin resistance. There is certainly some evidence in laboratory studies that nicotine may promote existing cancers.

However, when separated from the toxins in tobacco smoke and found in its pure form, there is very little evidence of long-term harm from nicotine exposure in humans outside pregnancy and adolescence.

Research has found the health risks from vaping are unlikely to be a lot more than 5% of the chance of smoking, and may be substantially below this. As the majority of vapor cigarette supplies users are smokers or recent ex-smokers, this represents a huge health benefit for those who move to vaping.

The impact of vaping on bystanders can also be regarded as negligible. E-cigarettes release low levels of nicotine and minimal quantities of other chemicals into the ambient air. The expired vapour dissipates quickly with no significant health risks to bystanders.

Recent studies have found nicotine is far less toxic than previously thought. Most cases of intentional overdose with nicotine solutions bring about prompt vomiting and full recovery.

Similarly, accidental poisoning in children typically causes mild side effects. Serious outcomes are rare. Most child poisoning with nicotine may be prevented with common sense, childproof packaging and warning labels, the same as other potentially toxic medicines and cleaning products located in the home.

Overseas experience has shown e-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking for younger people. Although adolescents are tinkering with e-cigarettes, regular use by non-smokers is rare. The great most of adolescents use nicotine-free e-cigarettes.

In fact, the evidence suggests e-cigarettes are acting as an “exit gateway” and therefore are displacing smoking. It is obviously better for young people to not use e-cigarettes, but vaping is preferable to smoking.

Smokers who want to reduce the health problems from smoking are utilizing e-cigarettes almost exclusively as a safer substitute for combustible tobacco. After a decade of overseas’ experience, there is certainly xocplg evidence e-cigarettes are renormalising smoking, are undermining tobacco control or are used to the significant extent for temporary, not permanent, abstinence (as an example, in places in which you can’t smoke).

Why nicotine needs to be legalised

Paradoxically, current Australian laws ban a less harmful type of nicotine intake (e-cigarettes) while allowing the widespread sale of the very lethal type of nicotine intake (tobacco cigarettes). In spite of the legal restrictions and difficulties of access, electronic cigarette use has been growing rapidly around australia.

Amending the Poisons Standard will allow smokers that are unable or unwilling to stop smoking to legally access low concentrations of nicotine for harm reduction. It is also legally found in nicotine-replacement therapies such as patches, so why not e-cigarettes?

Regulation under the Australian Consumer Law would improve product safety and quality, restrict sales to minors and make certain child-resistant containers and appropriate advertising. It would also remove the black market and also the risks related to it.

Research conducted recently estimated over 6 million European Union citizens used e-cigarettes to quit smoking. In the UK, 1.3 million ex-smokers are employing an electronic cigarette. Similarly, it is likely thousands and thousands of Australians will quit smoking tobacco using e-cigarettes if nicotine is legally available.

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