The Hon. Mark Butler MP, the Minister for Health, has recently announced the government’s initiative to combat smoking and vaping across Australia. Asthma WA welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement to ban the importation of many vaping products and set minimum standards around flavours, packaging and ingredients, as well as the increases in funding for education and quit programs. This shows that the Government has rightly recognised that vaping is harmful and that the only place for it is to assist people trying to stop doing something even more harmful, Smoking and vaping have long been identified as major contributors to respiratory problems, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer. As a result, the Australian government has been actively taking measures to reduce smoking and vaping rates in the country.
The new initiative aims to strengthen the existing tobacco control framework and introduce new measures to reduce the attractiveness and availability of tobacco and nicotine products, particularly among young people. The government will also be investing $20 million to develop a national quit campaign and provide additional support to those who want to quit smoking. Asthma WA fully supports the government’s initiatives to curb smoking and vaping. As an organisation dedicated to promoting respiratory health, we know firsthand the devastating impact that smoking and vaping can have on individuals and the community as a whole.
We are also especially pleased that the Federal Government will work with the States to restrict retail sale options, which are already limited in Western Australia. This is the result of many years of lobbying by health professionals and advocacy groups such as ACOSH (Australian Council on Smoking and Health) which our own General Manager, Jenny Howson, is proud to be a recent participant of.
“These announcements indicate the biggest change to tobacco and nicotine control in many years and will benefit the whole community, not just those with respiratory conditions. Most importantly, it will protect our children and young people from the dangers of vaping”, she said.
Dr Alice Crawford, Respiratory Physician from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and member of the Asthma WA Clinical Advisory Group added “We greatly welcome the news of the Albanese Government’s Vaping Reform and smoking reduction legislation, and are encouraged by the strong leadership shown in tackling this substantial threat to public health. This is a positive step in improving the lung health for many Australians and preventing further harm from noxious gases.”
Smoking is a leading cause of preventable deaths and illnesses in Australia, and it poses a particular threat to people with respiratory conditions such as asthma. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, around 38% of people with asthma smoke, and smoking is a significant contributor to asthma exacerbations. Vaping, while marketed as a less harmful alternative to smoking, is not without risks. Studies have shown that e-cigarettes can cause lung damage and exacerbate existing respiratory conditions. Additionally, the use of e-cigarettes among young people has been steadily increasing, raising concerns about the long-term health effects of vaping.
As such, the government’s initiative to reduce smoking and vaping rates is a crucial step towards improving respiratory health and reducing the burden of asthma and other respiratory conditions in Australia. We commend the government’s efforts and urge all Australians to support these initiatives by quitting smoking and avoiding vaping. Asthma WA remains committed to promoting respiratory health and supporting people with asthma and other respiratory conditions. We encourage anyone with asthma to seek advice and support from our organisation and to take proactive steps to manage their condition.
We at Asthma WA applaud the government’s efforts to reduce smoking and vaping and support initiatives that promote healthy living and asthma management. We encourage anyone who is struggling to quit smoking to reach out to their healthcare provider or to contact Quitline for support.