Australia’s vaping witch hunt only kills smokers

“Much needed healthcare resources should be directed towards providing Australians with more urgent healthcare and elective surgeries, not towards an unnecessary vaping witch hunt,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates).

CAPHRA says Australia is falling further behind in Asia-Pacific when it comes to adopting effective THR policies that reduce the national smoking rate.
CAPHRA Executive Coordinator Nancy Loucas sadly says that all we have seen in recent months in Australia is an escalation in the vaping witch hunt.

His comments follow state-funded anti-vaping propaganda and policing at both the federal and state levels. Australia’s chief medical officer has even called vaping the next health concern after COVID-19.

Meanwhile, New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant has threatened law-abiding retailers that if they sell illegal vapes containing nicotine they could spend up to six months in jail, or a fine of up to $1,650, or both!

NSW Health now publicly claims that vapes “can contain the same harmful chemicals found in cleaners, nail polish removers, weed killers and insect repellents” and that “nicotine is a dangerous poison”.

“If vaping were as harmful as NSW Health claims, I’m sure in New Zealand, where vaping is successfully replacing smoking, their hospitals would be full of poisoned vapers. In fact, not a single New Zealander is said to have died from vaping. This is because the product standards for vaping nicotine are high and consumers feel very safe to switch,” says Loucas.

CAPHRA says Australia is falling further and further behind in the Asia-Pacific region in adopting effective tobacco harm reduction (THR) policies and programs that reduce the national smoking rate.

“After a decade of a Liberal government speaking out against vaping while the number of smokers barely budged, we hoped the new Labor government would take a more progressive approach to reducing Australia’s stubbornly high smoking rate. .

“Unfortunately, all we have seen in recent months is an escalation of the vaping witch hunt. This approach will frankly kill Australian smokers desperate to quit because they don’t get the support or l reasonable access to switch to significantly less harmful nicotine vaping,” she says.

Ms Loucas says that in addition to government-funded hysteria, smokers like Victorians are being let down by the same professionals who should be helping them find an effective way to quit smoking. VicHealth, Cancer Council Victoria and Quit Victoria are working together to scare smokers about the most effective smoking cessation tool in modern history: nicotine vaping!

“They do their best to compare vaping in the 2020s to smoking in the 1920s, saying that unless the government cracks down even harder, it will fail to protect the health of current and future generations of Australians. What nonsense!

“Nicotine vaping products should be available for purchase in stores as a strict R18 product. Requiring a doctor’s prescription is a failure for Australia’s 2.3 million smokers. Australia’s appalling annual smoking-related death rate of 20,000 would begin to decline if smokers had decent access to a viable and safer alternative,” says Ms Loucas.

CAPHRA says Australia’s medicalized model for vaping and the increasing resources devoted to policing such a failed public health approach have a huge opportunity cost.

“The continued stupidity of many Australian politicians and public health officials is to see huge sums of money hemorrhaged just when their health system needs additional financial support because of COVID-19,” says Nancy Lucas.

With nearly 15,000 testimonials, CAPHRA calls on those who quit smoking with smokeless alternatives to nicotine to tell their story at

For a free digital media repository on tobacco harm reduction in Asia-Pacific – including press releases, images and graphics – please visit


The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates (CAPHRA) is a regional alliance of tobacco harm reduction advocacy organizations. Its mission is to educate, advocate and represent the right of adult consumers of alternative nicotine to access and use products that reduce the harms of smoking.

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