ACT News

Health groups calls on the ACT government to ban e-cigarettes

Health groups have again called for the ACT to regulate e-cigarettes, as the NSW state government announces plans to ban their sale to minors.

On Sunday, Fairfax Media reported the Baird government would restrict the sale of e-cigarettes and related products, including all e-liquids, to people over the age of 18 years.

Regulate e-cigarettes: health groups.
Regulate e-cigarettes: health groups. Photo: Reuters

NSW Health minister Jillian Skinner said the government was committed to protecting the health of children and young people.

"We want to guard against the re-normalisation of smoking among the young, as it has the potential to undermine decades of successful anti-smoking efforts in NSW," she said.

Canberra Council Australia Tobacco Issues Committee chairwoman Kylie Lindorff said she called on the ACT government to not only restrict e-cigarettes for minors, but ban their sale completely.

"We would be asking all state and territory health ministers to look at those things," she said. "We'd like to see a ban on their advertising and promotion across the board and to prohibit their use in smoke-free areas."


Ms Lindorff said she was concerned about the impact of non-nicotine e-cigarettes and vaporisers on young people.

"They're a novelty item, they're a toy," she said. "They're in Red Bull and bubblegum flavours - they're aimed at children and we don't think they have any place in our market in Australia."

Heart Foundation ACT chief executive Tony Stubbs said a 2013 NSW Health study had revealed 70 per cent of e-cigarette liquid contained some sort of nicotine, despite an Australia-wide ban.

"At the moment we don't know even know, in the ones who say they don't have nicotine, whether they do or don't," he said.

Mr Stubbs said e-cigarettes normalised smoking for a new generation of Canberrans and called for them to be banned in the ACT.

"[Smoking rates] are down very far across Australia, so all the hard work to reduce cigarette smoking in the ACT could be for nothing if these are normalised," he said.

The ACT government is considering how to regulate e-cigarettes, and has put together a response to a discussion paper on the topic which triggered a surprisingly large amount of community feedback.

More than 240 submissions were lodged after the release of the discussion paper in November.

Additional reporting by Henry Belot