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Thread: Correspondence with the National Drug Strategy / Tobacco Control Australia

  1. #1
    Sik
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    Correspondence with the National Drug Strategy / Tobacco Control Australia

    Blergh Original Letter.

    To
    nationaldrugstrategy@health.gov.au
    09/05/2011 cc
    01:44 PM
    Subject
    Dear Sirs / Ma'ams,

    I am writing to you with regards to The National Drug Strategy 2010-2015 specifically the sub topic of Harm Reduction, as listed on page 8 of the strategy "Harm reduction means strategies and actions that primarily reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of the use of drugs"

    A relatively new development in the world of smoking alternatives are electronic cigarettes. A product which has not received overly much attention in this country. However around the world research is finding that electronic cigarettes or "e-cigs" are far less damaging than traditional tobacco cigarettes and are anecdotally proving to assist smokers who seek an alternative to smoking cigarettes.

    Firstly let me state that I benefit in no way from the sales of electronic cigarettes or their associated paraphenalia. I am however an ex smoker who has unsuccesfully used traditional Nicotine Replacement Therapy products and therapies in the past in an effort to Quit Smoking. I am now however one of an emerging group that has successfully used Electronic Cigarettes to rid myself of a dependency and daily habit of smoking tobacco.

    I am fully aware of the fact that I am still addicted to the substance that is nicotine however if the research around the world is anything to go by, not to mention my own anecdotal evidence of how i feel scince ceasing to use Tobacco Cigarettes, I have substantially reduced my risk of contracting a terminal disease and enhanced my Quality of life.

    While using an electronic cigarette may not be as good for my health as not using a product at all it is substantially less detrimental to my health than the alternative of smoking tobacco. The current state of play in this country with laws around the retailing of nicotine liquid mean that whilst i can purchase electronic cigarettes and non-nicotine liquid locally, i must import my nicotine from overseas. Ergo the product is not neccessarily easily available.

    The National Drug Strategy itself states that Tobacco is one of the leading causes of disease and that smoking rates are still unacceptably high. The National Drug Strategy also states that . However I am having much difficulty finding any sort of research in this country into this new and if yet unproven, certainly promising alternative.

    In reading through the National Tobacco Strategy 2004-2009, section 3.3 lists several points:

    2. to encourage and assist as many smokers as possible to quit as soon as possible
    3. to eliminate harmful exposure to tobacco smoke among non-smokers
    4. where feasible, to reduce harm associated with continuing use of, and dependence on,
    tobacco and nicotine.

    Which could potentially be assisted by Electronic Cigarettes, especially in relation to a less harmful alternative. Atmittedly these devices are a new product which requires further evaluation. However the response in this country so far seems to be to ignore them or knee jerk react to the fact that in some forms they contain nicotine and start seizing them (Queensland Health).

    In the United States, these products are available as Unregulated Tobacco products, similarly in the UK. In New Zealand some products have been independantly tested and are available through pharmacies. Other products can be imported. Yet here, people obtain access to the products locally or Internationally and nicotine through relatively grey areas or gaps in legislation.

    I am writing to you in the hope that these products may attract proper attention and be properly evaluated by local agencies. Ultimately if the initial research indications hold true that a far less harmful relatively successful product is at the very least available to smokers. In the best case a new cheap form of Nicotine Replacement Therapy helps may smokers to actually cease smoking tobacco alltogether.

    Rather than take my word for any of the above statements below is some research from Boston University which covers several aspects of e-cigs. It is by no means all of the research that is available:

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/centers-...ticle.jphp.pdf

    "TSNAs have been detected in two studies at trace levels.5,6 The maximum level of total TSNAs reported was 8.2 ng/g.6 This compares with a similar level of 8.0 ng in a nicotine patch, and it is orders of magnitude lower than TSNA levels in regular cigarettes"

    "Although the existing research does not warrant a conclusion that electronic cigarettes are safe in absolute terms and further clinical studies are needed to comprehensively assess the safety of electronic cigarettes, a preponderance of the available evidence shows them to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes and comparable in toxicity to conventional nicotine replacement products."

    "Although more research is needed before we will know how effective electronic cigarettes are at achieving smoking abstinence,there is now sufficient evidence to conclude that these products are at least capable of suppressing the urge to smoke"

    Regards
    Current Vape: Variable Wattage mod, EPM Boge tanks, Something Fruity

  2. #2
    Sik
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    Response

    Dear

    Thank you for your correspondence of 9 May 2011 regarding the availability
    of electronic cigarettes in Australia.

    The Australian Government is concerned about the use of electronic
    cigarettes in Australia. Unlike Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
    products, which have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration
    for medically-supervised use to quit smoking, the safety of electronic
    cigarettes is not known. Electronic cigarettes are essentially a nicotine
    delivery system, and nicotine is a dangerous poison.

    Some overseas studies suggest that electronic cigarettes may be dangerous,
    delivering unreliable doses of nicotine (above or below the stated
    quantity), or containing toxic chemicals or carcinogens, or leaking
    nicotine. Leaked nicotine is a poisoning hazard for the user of electronic
    cigarettes, as well as others around them, particularly children.
    Electronic cigarettes have not been approved by the Therapeutic Goods
    Administration and they should not be considered a safe product, nor a
    suitable aid to quitting smoking.

    You may wish to know that there are many services available to help you
    quit smoking. Quitting can be hard, and many smokers try several times
    before they succeed, but it is important to take the first step and keep
    trying. The Quitline (131 848) is a good place to start. For the cost of a
    local call, or by visiting www.quitnow.info.au, you can get confidential
    information, support and advice to help you achieve the goal of quitting.
    Apart from the health benefits of quitting, you will also enjoy a
    considerable financial benefit from not buying cigarettes.

    Thank you again for taking the time to raise your views and concerns. I
    trust that this information is of assistance.

    Regards
    Tobacco Policy Control
    Current Vape: Variable Wattage mod, EPM Boge tanks, Something Fruity

  3. #3
    Sik
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    And My response

    Hello,

    Thank you for your response. Albeit looking rather copy and pasted.

    I would put it to you that with the estimated number of users in the US alone being over a million and not a single death has been reported, the dangers of nicotine poisoning from these devices are being grossly overstated. I would also put it to you that the amount of nicotine available in lozenges or gum i can buy from the supermarket is comparable to the amount of nicotine contained in an electronic cigarette cartridge.

    I apologise for being blunt, however the response of Australian Tobacco Control does absolutely nothing to answer my concerns.

    Could you please point me to the research you quoted in your response that shows that "Some overseas studies suggest that electronic cigarettes may be dangerous,delivering unreliable doses of nicotine (above or below the statedquantity), or containing toxic chemicals or carcinogens, or leaking nicotine" ?

    I will site again some research in my original email which suggests that Electronic Cigarettes contain no more toxic chemicals or carcinogens than traditional NRT: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/centers-...ticle.jphp.pdf


    "TSNAs have been detected in two studies at trace levels.5,6 The maximum level of total TSNAs reported was 8.2 ng/g.6 This compares with a similar level of 8.0 ng in a nicotine patch, and it is orders of magnitude lower than TSNA levels in regular cigarettes"

    I would also ask you, Why when compared to the alternative of smoking cigarettes, which are know to contain toxic chemicals and carcinogens are these devices so dangerous ?

    Less than a week ago, the New Zealand Ministry of Health issued a statement that E-Cigarettes were far less damaging than traditional smoked tobacco. Also less than a week ago Auckland University's Centre for Tobacco Control Research called for greater access to these devices, having already completed Toxicicty evaluations and commencing clinical trials of the efficafcy of these products: http://tvnz.co.nz/health-news/call-g...rettes-4166031 and associated video http://tvnz.co.nz/health-news/call-g...-4166031/video

    Can you tell me why Authorities in this country are burying their heads in the sand rather than actually pro-actively evaluating these alternatives whilst making outdated and unresearched claims into being ineffective and dangerous ?

    Regards
    Current Vape: Variable Wattage mod, EPM Boge tanks, Something Fruity

  4. #4
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    Loved this bit-

    quote.

    "You may wish to know that there are many services available to help you
    quit smoking. Quitting can be hard, and many smokers try several times
    before they succeed, but it is important to take the first step and keep
    trying. The Quitline (131 848) is a good place to start. For the cost of a
    local call, or by visiting www.quitnow.info.au, you can get confidential
    information, support and advice to help you achieve the goal of quitting.
    Apart from the health benefits of quitting, you will also enjoy a
    considerable financial benefit from not buying cigarettes"

    Jeeeeeez they arent listening.!!!!!
    Patronising in the extreme.

    Run along now Sik and and quit the way I tell you.
    -take a patch put one over each eye ect-
    I love the first sentence-"You may not know there are many services" ect ecct yada yada yada
    That reply has to take first prize for a patronising non listening non answer and non interest in the issue. He must have spent three seconds responding-or more likely handed the letter over to an office person on work experience.

  5. #5
    Sik
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    Quote Originally Posted by gert View Post
    Loved this bit-

    quote.

    "You may wish to know that there are many services available to help you
    quit smoking. Quitting can be hard, and many smokers try several times
    before they succeed, but it is important to take the first step and keep
    trying. The Quitline (131 848) is a good place to start. For the cost of a
    local call, or by visiting www.quitnow.info.au, you can get confidential
    information, support and advice to help you achieve the goal of quitting.
    Apart from the health benefits of quitting, you will also enjoy a
    considerable financial benefit from not buying cigarettes"

    Jeeeeeez they arent listening.!!!!!
    Patronising in the extreme.

    Run along now Sik and and quit the way I tell you.
    -take a patch put one over each eye ect-
    I love the first sentence-"You may not know there are many services" ect ecct yada yada yada
    That reply has to take first prize for a patronising non listening non answer and non interest in the issue. He must have spent three seconds responding-or more likely handed the letter over to an office person on work experience.
    Hence my implication of my suspecting their incompetence in my response. It pissed me off.

    I neglected to mention in my response that i have no need of their reccomendations on how to quit smoking as I have already done so almost 6 months ago.... Must remember that for next time.
    Current Vape: Variable Wattage mod, EPM Boge tanks, Something Fruity

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    Id be surprised if that response didnt have [Autoreply] in the subject. trying to sweep our shit under the carpet once again. they want us to embrace our 'forced leprosy'. and the drop to quitline is just a kick in the teeth. [sarc]Sik its quite obvious you've been in the dark the last 20 years and DIDNT KNOW about quitline. you just stumbled across ecigs without trying the "proven methods" first. here try this instead....../[sarc]
    we need statistics to show the proven NRTs are NOT WORKING....... fark i have like 3x30ml bottles left, and my batts and atts are nearly out. wont last long with all this extra stress. thank you sunshine/smart/NANNY/SOFTCOCK state.

  7. #7
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    Response

    Dear

    Thank you for your continued, and exhausting, correspondence of 9 May 2011 regarding the availability
    of electronic cigarettes in Australia.

    The Australian Government is still concerned about the use of electronic
    cigarettes in Australia. Unlike Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
    products, which have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Big Pharm companies (who are paying for my vacation next month),
    for medically-supervised use to quit smoking, the safety of electronic
    cigarettes is not known because the scientist we hired to test them is making a sandwich.
    Electronic cigarettes are essentially a nicotine heat seeking missile death ray gun
    delivery system, and nicotine is a dangerous poison. Very very dangerous. They will likely kill you, your sister, your dog, your fish, your self esteem, your eye for composition, your ability to find Wally, and your engine.

    Some overseas studies, conducted by my cousin's cat, suggest that electronic cigarettes may be dangerous,
    delivering unreliable doses of nicotine (above or below the stated
    quantity), or containing toxic chemicals or carcinogens, or leaking
    nicotine or contain the souls of dead tobacco lobbyists.
    Leaked nicotine is a poisoning hazard for the user of electronic
    cigarettes, as well as others around them, particularly children and butterflies.
    Electronic cigarettes have not been approved by the Therapeutic Goods
    Administration or Big P or Uncle PJ and they should not be considered a safe product, nor a
    suitable aid to quitting smoking.

    I will reiterate what I said before: you may wish to know that there are many services available to help you
    quit smoking, cause I assume you live under a rock.
    Quitting can be hard, and many smokers try several times
    before they succeed or die trying, but it is important to take the first step and keep
    trying (I find the use of a condescending tone helps).
    The Quitline (131 848) is a good place to start. For the cost of a
    local call, or by visiting www.quitnow.info.au, you can get confidential
    information, support and advice to help you achieve the goal of quitting and ruling a small island colony of gerbils.
    Apart from the health benefits of quitting, you will also enjoy a
    considerable financial benefit from not buying cigarettes. But let us know if you're not buying smokes any more so we can jack up the taxes again.

    Thank you again for taking the time to raise your views and concerns. I
    trust that this information is of assistance. I also trust that any further communications from you will find their way onto printed paper so that I may use it to wipe my arse.

    Regards
    Tobacco Policy Control

  8. #8
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    The reply surely was framed by a school leaver-that patronising response would offend the intellegence of a year 10 student!!!

    (I liked yours though MossJr hahaha... )
    Last edited by gert; 16-05-11 at 03:22 PM.

  9. #9
    Sik
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    "Some overseas studies, conducted by my cousin's cat, suggest that electronic cigarettes may be dangerous,"

    Current Vape: Variable Wattage mod, EPM Boge tanks, Something Fruity

  10. #10
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    Listen to the cat Sik...

 

 
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