Extracting data from the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, the research team analyzed the relationship between vaping and smoking cessation in 3868 adult smokers amongst the Australian population.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ (RACGP) has concluded that vapes are a legitimate quitting tool for adult smokers.

Titled, “Is smoking reduction and cessation associated with increased e-cigarette use? Findings from a nationally representative sample of adult smokers in Australia,” the study concluded that while occasional e-cigarette use was not associated with smoking reduction/cessation, daily use was.

“Compared with no current e-cigarette use, daily e-cigarette users reported an increased likelihood for smoking reduction among current daily smokers (RRR = 2.83; 95% CI = 1.53, 5.22) and were more likely to report quitting smoking among past year smokers (RRR = 2.16; 95% CI = 1.30, 3.58). Smoking reduction and cessation for occasional e-cigarette use were not significantly different from no e-cigarette use,” read the study Abstract.

Despite the hostility towards vaping in Australia, in 2020 the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ (RACGP) had announced it was recommending the use of nicotine-containing vaping products for smoking cessation.

In their latest edition of national smoking cessation guidelines, the GP organisation had explained it had been carrying out thorough reviews on the effectiveness and safety of the products, and concluded that they are a legitimate quitting tool for adult smokers.

To this effect, the new guidelines advise GPs and other health professionals to recommend vaping for adult smokers who wish to quit and have so far been unsuccessful when trying with regular NRTs. This change in stance aligns the RACGP with other medical associations such as the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, the UK Royal College of General Practitioners, the New Zealand Medical Association.

Sadly, this advice fell on deaf ears last year, when Australia’s Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt went on to ban the importation of any vape liquid containing nicotine. A few months later the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced their final decision on the measure, “..the importation of nicotine e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine for vaping will require a doctor’s prescription.”

Science is being ignored

To this effect, as of October 2021, vapers in Australia are only able to purchase vaping products from pharmacies via prescription. While retailers in neighbouring New Zealand and most other countries are able to responsibly sell nicotine products over the counter, anyone caught violating Australia’s harsh regulations will face steep fines, and in some cases even imprisonment.

A TGA spokeswoman explained that such criminal offences may result in civil penalties and fines “up to 5,000 penalty units for an individual – up to $1,110,000 – and 50,000 penalty units for a corporation – up to $11,100,000.”