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Thread: Nice article in the Financial Review

  1. #1
    AVF Regular
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    Jan 2014
    Liverpool NSW

    Nice article in the Financial Review

    David Leyonhjelm

    It seems everything is illegal in Australia unless a bureaucrat gives permission. What’s worse, you have to go to the trouble and expense of asking for permission, because if bureaucrats were proactive they would run the risk of serving the public.

    A good example is the case of e-cigarettes. These inhalers deliver a warm puff of nicotine, without the carcinogenic tar and industrial solvents of cigarette smoke. Alternatively, they can deliver a puff of anything else you could wish for, such as the flavour of chocolate or whisky.

    In Australia, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to deliver nicotine. Not because a bureaucrat has made a decision to ban them, but because no one has yet asked the right bureaucrat for permission.

    What this country is missing is an Oliver Twist – a poor wretched soul who draws the short straw and has to plead with the bureaucrats at the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA): “Please, sir, I want some more.” If anyone gets around to asking the TGA for permission, they will have to jump through the right hoops.

    They will need to put their hand on their heart and say the only purpose of an e-cigarette is as an aid to quitting smoking. They will have to swear that no one would ever use them for enjoyment. And the onus will be on them to prove (at considerable expense) that e-cigarettes are effective quitting devices.

    The ban-by-default of e-cigarettes containing nicotine suits zealous public health advocates just fine. They argue something should be banned until it is demonstrated to be harmless, since we are all incapable of deciding for ourselves.

    Such reasoning would have banned every innovation before it could become popular, from the wheel to the internet. We would truly be in the Dark Ages.

    They ignore their international counterparts such as the Royal College of Physicians, which concluded that e-cigarettes offer massive potential to improve public health by giving smokers a much safer alternative to tobacco.

    They ignore how e-cigarettes are freely available in the European Union and the United States. And they ignore Australia’s record of level-headed harm minimisation, such as our pioneering of the methadone treatment for hard-core heroin addicts.

    It is hard to avoid the conclusion that their primary goal is to achieve a puritanical victory against nicotine rather than to save lives. It’s not really about the smokers, it’s about them. Like Marie Antoinette, they say to the smokers who could benefit: “Let them go cold turkey.”
    Bizarre legal loopholes

    In the meantime, Vincent van Heerden, a Perth businessman, lies convicted of the crime of selling e-cigarettes without nicotine. When the West Australian Health Department took van Heerden to the Magistrates Court, the case was thrown out because the magistrate found that, while it is illegal to sell something resembling a cigarette, the e-cigarette in question looks more like a pen.

    Regrettably the WA Health Department appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that smoking heralds the apocalypse and anything that might remind anyone of a cigarette must be banned. The court was convinced, and van Heerden convicted.

    But the weirdness doesn’t stop there. While it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes in Australia, it is perfectly legal to import up to three months’ supply, with or without nicotine. So our government intentionally lets foreign online businesses do the exact thing they ban Australian businesses from doing. It’s reminiscent of the line: “No sex please, we’re British.”

    We are left with the most bizarre of situations. It is perfectly legal to sell cigarettes, which deliver death through combustion (along with billions of dollars of excise revenue to the government). And it is legal for foreign businesses to sell us e-cigarettes with or without nicotine.

    But it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes with nicotine in Australia, because no one has asked the TGA to deem them to be quitting devices. And it is illegal, at least in some Australian states, to sell e-cigarettes to deliver non-nicotine flavours, because – horror of horrors – someone might see someone put something to their mouth. It’s like a ban on dancing because it could lead to fornication.

    The government bans by default, then places each Australian in the position of Oliver Twist, where we have to plead with authorities for permission to pursue a humble existence. Charles Dickens, the great champion of justice and common sense, would be turning in his grave.

    David Leyonhjelm is the Liberal Democrats’ senator for NSW.

    E-cigarettes at mercy of bureaucrats who ban by default
    Hangover, JWH, Crisscross and 9 others like this.

  2. #2
    AVF Regular
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    South Australia
    Finally a politician publically on our side.
    btobw and hoekone like this.
    Colouring My World with Elegance
    Started Vaping 13th October, 2011

  3. #3
    AVF Regular
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    Dec 2013
    Melbourne, Eastern Suburb
    Great article!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Just had a look at the LDP policies and seems like they've got their heads screwed on the right way around.

    The LDP is neither pro-smoking nor anti-smoking; it is pro-choice.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Brilliant, at last someone on our side

    Started Vaping at 16:00 hrs on 11th April 2013...
    Saved poop loads of $ not buying stinkies since then.
    Spending poop loads of $ on shinies and juice etc since then
    But now I am happy...

  6. #6
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    Nov 2013
    SE Suburbs VIC
    at last, something that makes some sense !

  7. #7
    AVF Regular
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    May 2014
    Nice article ! I like the part about how we are not allowed to buy nic but junkies get there own shooting gallery courtesy of the Gov.
    *I Use Clones*

  8. #8
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    Apr 2011
    Albany WA
    Cool bananas.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2014
    Western Sydney, NSW
    Lets see if he backs up his words now that he is in the Senate...

  10. #10
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    Mar 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by Sludge View Post
    Nice article ! I like the part about how we are not allowed to buy nic but junkies get there own shooting gallery courtesy of the Gov.
    Which article was that in?

    I didn't read anything like that in this one. It states that we were previously progressive about harm minimisation and used the example of methadone treatment for heroin addicts. Methadone is taken orally, and only under strict supervision and prescription by a doctor.

    We do also have needle exchanges and places where addicts can get free clean needles and a safe, clean place to inject. The point of these services is not to encourage upstanding citizens to become intravenous drug users (which is as ludicrous as saying vaping is a gateway to smoking), but to stop the spread of HIV and Hep C in existing drug users and also to help prevent serious bacterial infections due to using dirty equipment in places teeming with bacteria like public toilets.

    Surely we, as smokers who found it impossible to give up, should be able to empathise with people who struggle with all kinds of addictions?
    tom32, DEATHGUYJ and KatSA like this.


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