Antismoking advocates have worked for decades to have cigarettes outlawed, but until now there has never been a major country to completely outlaw smoking. That could be about to change. According to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia could be the first nation to make smoking illegal. They are currently beginning a new government-funded trial on e-cigarettes to determine if e-cig products could be a safe replacement for tobacco sales.
As a first step toward banning cigarettes, the Australian government budgeted $1 million for a new study that will determine whether e-cigs are a safe replacement. The study will be finished in 2015 and then lawmakers will decide whether e-cigarettes are safe enough to be a legal replacement, ultimately helping the nation phase out tobacco cigarettes completely.
Coral Gartner will oversee the new e-cig study at the University of Queensland’s Center for Clinical Research. The study will follow 1600 smokers and researchers are hopeful that they will discover positive evidence that e-cigs are a good option for smokers that want to quit. Gartner commented, “These types of products have the potential to be beneficial to public health if they are used to completely replace the traditional cigarette. It would be a shame not to explore how they could be used to maximize public health while trying to minimize potential unwanted effects such as making smoking appear glamorous.”
While e-cigs are widely accepted in many other countries, there are still a few places that refuse to even consider vaping as a safe alternative to smoking. Earlier this year, France banned e-cigs in public places blaming a study that showed carcinogenic chemicals in e-cigarette vapor. However, other studies showed contradictory evidence. In March, an American study found that while some carcinogens were present in e-cig vapor, the levels were up to 450 times less than the carcinogens found in cigarette smoke.
In order to find the truth behind these contradictory studies, the Australian government is funding its own research. In the mean time, e-cigs continue to grow in popularity among the Aussie crowd. In the Sydney Morning Herald article, there were interviews with multiple Australian vapers and all of them had positive things to say about e-cigarettes.
Damian Duncan was interviewed in a bar where he openly used his electronic cigarettes. He claimed that e-cigarettes had saved his life. Another couple from Campbelltown told reporters about their attempts to quit smoking in the past. Kevin and Jo Husband had spent thousands of dollars on patches, lozenges, and hypnotherapy in order to stop smoking. Unfortunately, none of these options worked. But once they discovered electronic cigarettes, they were finally able to quit smoking for good.
Kevin Husband called e-cigarettes “the miracle cure.” He said, “I’ve not had a cigarette since November last year.” Former smoker Andrew Washbourne said that e-cigarettes made him feel like a brand new person. After smoking 40 cigarettes a day since he was only 11 years old, he converted to e-cigarettes. He told reporters, “I can now walk up the stairs again.”
It’s obvious that electronic cigarettes are making a big difference in the lives of the people that use them. Stories like those of Kevin Husband and Andrew Washbourne could eventually become quite common in Australia if the government decides to outlaw smoking and instead promote e-cigarettes as a replacement.
How do you think people in Australia would react to a new total smoking ban?