On campaign trail

February 03, 2018

While legal in New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, Canada and throughout Europe, it is currently illegal in Australia to purchase or even possess nicotine vapes.

But a campaign is calling on Damian Drum and Suzanna Sheed to ‘‘do the right thing’’ and ‘‘support people’s right to vape’’.

‘‘(Some) 500000 lives could be saved in Australia if politicians just do the right thing and join our effort to legalise it once and for all,’’ Legalise Vaping Australia campaign manager Brian Marlow said.

Shepparton’s state member however harbours concerns, given the progress made by campaigns to reduce smoking.

Avenel’s David Burgoine took up smoking tobacco in 1974 at the age of 18 and last year swapped to vaping.

‘‘I still have the odd cigarette but most of the time I use the vape,’’ he said.

‘‘I was coughing and struggling to breathe each night but since using the vape my health has improved. They should legalise it, it helps people,’’ Mr Burgoine said.

State MP Suzanna Sheed believed it would be premature to legalise it until ‘‘much more scientific evidence’’ was forthcoming.

‘‘It would seem in the medical and scientific fields there are concerns about the nicotine in these cigarettes,’’ she said.

‘‘Many against it are concerned that in the face of what has been a very successful Quit public health campaign, to introduce e-cigarettes may renormalise smoking.’’

‘‘(It) could send a message there is some sort of renormalisation of that activity,’’ she said.

Mr Marlow said evidence showed vaping was 95 per cent safer than smoking and offered a 60 per cent higher chance of quitting regular tobacco when compared with going cold turkey.

Since January 13, Mr Barlow and others have been travelling around the country in a campaign bus funded by concerned vapers.

They have been visiting towns across the east coast of Australia, calling on politicians to legalise what they call a ‘‘common-sense solution that will save Australian lives’’.

‘‘We’re out on the road eating cheap ham sandwiches for the month ... my girlfriend isn’t too happy,’’ Mr Barlow said.

Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum was contacted for comment but was in overseas transit, a spokesperson said.

To sign LVA’s online petition head to www.legalisevaping.

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