Psychiatrists Fight Nicotine Ban, Cite ‘Significant Health Benefits’ Of E-Cigarettes

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

The psychiatric community is petitioning the Australian government to lift the county’s ban on vaping liquid, arguing that it disproportionately harms those with mental health conditions.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) says the government needs to clarify the country’s opposing laws governing vaping. Vaping devices are legal in the country, but the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes is banned, leaving a legal gray area for smokers trying to give up the habit, reports Vaping Post.

Psychiatrists note that individuals suffering from mental health conditions smoke at a much higher rate than the rest of the public, disproportionately impacting their health and longevity. They argue that greater access to vaping products would go a long way to improving overall health among those with mental health disorders.

“E-cigarettes…provide a safer way to deliver nicotine to those who are unable to stop smoking, thereby minimizing the harms associated with smoking tobacco and reducing some of the health disparities,” a representative for RANZCP said in a statement, according to Vaping Post. “The RANZCP therefore supports a cautious approach that takes into account…the significant health benefits which these products present.”

Doctors in the country and representatives of British American Tobacco addressed a federal parliamentary committee July 12 to highlight the health benefits of vaping and how continued restrictions harm overall public health. Australian doctors note the positive impact that vaping has had on the smoking populations in the U.K. and U.S., where smoking rates are declining.

Major health groups in England, like the Royal College of Physicians, agree that using e-cigarettes eliminates most of the harms attributed to smoking. They also recommend vaping to patients trying to quit traditional tobacco products. A study commissioned by the European Union in 2014 found roughly six million European smokers had quit cigarettes by using vaping devices.

Public health experts also note that vaping devices offer smokers a viable way to reduce second-hand health risks to those around them.

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