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02 May 2023

RACGP backs vaping crackdown

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has thrown its support behind the Albanese Government’s vaping crackdown and welcomed the commitment to make it easier for people to vape with a doctor’s prescription.

It comes following Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler promising to clampdown on the flourishing e-cigarette black market, restrict flavours and colours, introduce pharmaceutical packaging, limit nicotine concentrations and volumes, ban single-use, disposable products and launch a $63 million advertising campaign to discourage vaping and smoking.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins backed the measures.

“I welcome this crackdown,” she said.

“It’s great news the Government has heeded the RACGP’s calls and announced these measures. We must do much more to limit the number of young people, including children and teenagers, taking up nicotine vaping. The last thing we want is a new generation of nicotine users, and since the brains of younger people are still developing I’m worried that it will be even harder for them to quit nicotine compared to adults.

“The advertising campaign and steps to limit the aesthetic appeal of vaping products including pharmaceutical-packaging with warning labels are especially welcome. Nicotine vaping products are being sold featuring colourful flavours and we have even seen products featuring the same type of imagery as children’s breakfast cereal including cartoon characters. So, clearly companies are targeting children and these cynical tactics must be stopped immediately. The proof will be in the pudding on the advertising campaign, which I think it holds great promise. I hope the campaign is something that cuts through with different audiences, particularly young people.”

Dr Higgins said that the RACGP would work in partnership with the Government.

“It’s important to make it easier for people to vape with a script from their GP,” she said.

“The RACGP supports vaping as a second-line smoking cessation strategy, it’s something that can work for people who have tried other steps to quit smoking and not succeeded. We stand ready to work with government on measures to boost the number of GPs who can prescribe nicotine vaping products and help people quit.

“My message to all Australians is that if you want to quit nicotine - help is available. Consult with your GP, we will be able to help you with a range of different options including counselling and nicotine replacement therapy such as a transdermal path or oral spray or gum, as well as drugs like varenicline and bupropion hydrochloride that block the pleasure and reward response to smoking, reduce the urge to smoke and aid with nicotine withdrawal.

“We will help you take back control. I know it may seem impossible at first after years of smoking but with the right strategies in place you can join many other people who have kicked the habit and improved their health and wellbeing. Trust me, it will be one the best decisions you ever made.”

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