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Open AccessArticle

Policy Debates Regarding Nicotine Vaping Products in Australia: A Qualitative Analysis of Submissions to a Government Inquiry from Health and Medical Organisations

1
School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, 20 Cornwall Street, Woolloongabba 4102, Queensland, Australia
2
School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Herston Road, Herston 4006, Queensland, Australia
3
Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences, The University of Queensland, 20 Cornwall Street, Woolloongabba 4102, Queensland, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4555; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224555
Received: 26 September 2019 / Revised: 3 November 2019 / Accepted: 14 November 2019 / Published: 18 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue E-Cigarettes: A Global Public Health Perspective)
Australia has maintained a highly restrictive regulatory framework for nicotine vaping products (NVPs) and the regulatory approach differs from most other high income countries. This paper employed a thematic analysis to assess policy consultation submissions made to a government inquiry regarding use and marketing of NVPs. We included in the analysis submissions (n = 40) made by Australian institutions that influence or contribute to health policy-making including government agencies, health bodies and charities (n = 23), and public health academics and healthcare professionals (n = 18). Submissions from commercial entities and consumers were excluded. The majority of submissions from representatives of government agencies, health bodies and charities recommended maintaining current restrictions on NVPs. Arguments against widening access to NVPs included the demand for long-term evidence on safety and efficacy of an unusually high standard. There was widespread support for restrictions on sales, advertising and promotion, with most submissions supporting similar controls as for tobacco products. In contrast, the majority of individual submissions from healthcare professionals and public health academics advocated for widening access to NVPs for smokers and emphasized the potential benefits of smokers switching to vaping and the policy incoherence of regulating less harmful nicotine products more strictly than tobacco cigarettes. Progress in resolving the policy debate concerning NVP regulation in Australia will require policy makers, clinicians and the public health community to engage in a meaningful dialogue which gives due consideration to both intended and unintended consequences of proposed policies. View Full-Text
Keywords: e-cigarettes; regulation; policy analysis; Australia e-cigarettes; regulation; policy analysis; Australia
MDPI and ACS Style

Erku, D.A.; Morphett, K.; Steadman, K.J.; Gartner, C.E. Policy Debates Regarding Nicotine Vaping Products in Australia: A Qualitative Analysis of Submissions to a Government Inquiry from Health and Medical Organisations. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4555.

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