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Youth vaping: a risk-benefit analysis

THE MEDIA IS AWASH WITH CONCERNS about youth vaping. However a balanced assessment should consider both the harms as well as the benefits. I did a risk-benefit analysis based on the latest evidence and found that the benefits of youth vaping outweighed the risks at a population level. To be clear, kids should not vape or smoke or drink alcohol or use drugs. However, in the real world, some will do these things. Understanding the full impact is crucial as youth vaping is the main driver of vaping policy. Policy should be based on evidence, not on moral judgements or emotion.

Number of vapes seized in NSW increases by 500% in three years as state clamps down on ‘alarming trend’

The number of vapes seized in New South Wales has increased by 500% over the past three years as the state government attempts to clamp down on a scourge the health minister says needs to be dealt with before it is too late. Figures obtained by Guardian Australia show last year more than 182,000 vapes were seized by NSW Health across the state, up from 30,000 in 2020 and 76,000 in 2021. Over the same period, the number of inspections more than doubled, from 1,343 in 2020 to 3,379 last year.

FACT CHECK. Is the Health Minister telling porkies … again?

THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH is on a mission this week, waging a war on vaping. In an effort to "make Australia great again" in the field of tobacco control he has committed to stamp out “this public health menace”. Mark Butler makes vaping sound scary, but are his bold claims evidence-based? Many of them are not. I fact checked several of his claims and found that truth is the first casualty of war.

Effectiveness of nicotine salt vapes, cytisine, and a combination of these products, for smoking cessation in New Zealand: protocol for a three-arm, pragmatic, community-based randomised controlled trial

Combining short-acting nicotine replacement therapy with varenicline increases smoking cessation rates compared with varenicline alone, but not all people tolerate these medications or find them helpful. We aim to investigate the therapeutic potential of an analogous combination, by evaluating the effectiveness, safety, and acceptability of combining nicotine salt e-cigarettes with cytisine, compared to nicotine salt e-cigarettes or cytisine only, on smoking abstinence at six months.

Vape blitz leads to seizure of thousands of illegal e-cigarettes containing nicotine in SA

Nearly 5,000 vapes have been seized in a crackdown on illegal e-cigarettes by South Australian health authorities, who inspected 180 businesses across the state. Earlier this year, the SA government introduced new licensing conditions on vaping products and a two-month "enforcement blitz" to stamp out the sale of vapes containing nicotine, which are increasingly being accessed by young people. The first published results of the crackdown have revealed 4,907 vapes were seized in SA, of which 4,536 contained nicotine.

The Butler Express. Coming to a town near you!

MINISTER BUTLER'S UPDATED VAPING REGULATIONS are outlined in a recent Consultation Paper. Consultation has been sought as a box-ticking exercise, with 2 weeks to respond! Based on past experience, it is almost certain that the plan will be submitted for legislation with minor, if any, changes. The proposed regulations double down on the failed prescription-only model. Additional harsh restrictions will make legal vapes less accessible, less appealing and less effective. Ironically, deadly cigarettes remain freely available at over 20,000 retail outlets.

Australia falls further behind in tobacco control every year

THE DECLINE IN SMOKING is 4-8 times slower in Australia than in New Zealand, Great Britain and the US over the last 4 years. Why? Australia has the highest cigarette prices in the world, plain packaging and extensive smokefree laws. However, Australia effectively bans the most successful quitting aid available: vaping nicotine. Vaping is readily and legally available in other western countries and is a major contributor to the accelerated decline in smoking

Ministry of Health admits incorrectly threatening vape retailers

The Ministry of Health has admitted it incorrectly threatened vape retailers for selling non-compliant products. In October 2022, in response to an inquiry from Fair Go, the ministry took the position that the smokefree regulations prescribed a maximum nicotine salt strength of 50mg/mL (28.5mg/mL nicotine strength) and threatened to cancel all products that did not comply. However, the regulations actually set the maximum nicotine strength limit of 50mg/mL.

FACT CHECK. Is vaping creating a “whole new generation of nicotine dependency”?

ON 2 MAY 2023, HEALTH MINISTER MARK BUTLER claimed that “vaping is creating a whole new generation of nicotine dependency in our community” and this is the main driver of his vaping crackdown.

This claim has been used repeatedly by health and medical organisations and academics since then and is frequently referenced as a serious concern in the media, eg here, here and here. "This would be a concern if it was true. However based on Australian data it is patently wrong and the Minister should withdraw the claim"

The dirty tricks campaign to censor the vaping debate in Australia

YET AGAIN, an anonymous Australian anti-vaping 'researcher' has attempted to censor public debate on vaping, this time by making baseless claims that I am tied to the tobacco and vape industry. I recently published an online article for teachers on how to address the problem of vaping at school. Student vaping is causing great concern for teachers and parents and the article provided practical and evidence-based advice on how to handle it.