Labor to amend e-cigarette bill: same rules apply as tobacco

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The Labor Opposition today released its amendments to strengthen the Baird Government’s proposed e-cigarette laws.

Labor believes the current bill – Public Health (Tobacco) Amendment (E-Cigarettes) Bill 2015 – does not go far enough, as it only bans the sale of e-cigarettes to people under 18.

Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord announced Labor’s amendments would:

  • Restrict the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed spaces, similar to current laws applied to tobacco in restaurants, hotels, public transport and other non-smoking areas;
  • Restrict their advertising, promotion and display at retail outlets similar to what exists for tobacco.

These amendments will bring NSW laws into line with Queensland laws.

Currently, the bill is before the Legislative Assembly and is set for debate in the Upper House.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered vaporisers through which liquid, usually containing nicotine, is heated up, vaporised and then inhaled. They are designed to mimic the act of smoking tobacco cigarettes, but without burning tobacco.

However, Labor is not advocating a wholesale ban on e-cigarettes, as researchers are divided on their effectiveness in assisting smokers trying to stop smoking. Others believe it is a gateway to smoking.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the State. It accounts for about 5,200 deaths and 44,000 hospitalisations a year. Nationally, about 40 people die a day due to smoking-related illnesses.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord:

“While I see the Government’s bill as a first step, it does not go far enough. The community wants e-cigarettes appropriately regulated.

“Banning the sale to minors is the absolute minimum. We believe the laws that apply to tobacco’s display and use in NSW should also apply to e-cigarettes.”