Forty major international and Australian academics and researchers including myself have written to the Therapeutics Goods Administration in support of an application to make low concentrations of nicotine available for utilization in electronic cigarettes (“vaping”).

In Australia, it is illegal to possess or use nicotine apart from in tobacco or nicotine-replacement products, as nicotine is classified inside the Poisons Standard as being a Schedule 7 “dangerous poison”.

As the primary addictive element of tobacco smoke, nicotine is portion of the problem. However, this may also be part of the solution. Using clean nicotine in e-cigarettes provides smokers having an alternative way of getting the nicotine which they may be addicted without the tobacco smoke which induces almost all of the harm from smoking.

As well as delivering nicotine, e-cigarettes replicate several important aspects of the “smoking experience”. This can include the hand-to-mouth movement and also the sensory and social aspects of the habit of smoking that smokers so often miss whenever they try to quit.

How harmful is nicotine?

The health outcomes of nicotine are relatively minor. It is not a carcinogen and does not cause respiratory disease. It provides only relatively minor effects on the heart, like short-lived rises in heartrate and blood pressure levels, constriction of coronary arteries and an increase in the contracting in the heart muscle.

Nicotine in pregnancy harms the baby’s developing brain and lungs and reduces growth. Additionally it is harmful to the adolescent brain, delays wound healing and increases insulin resistance. There is some evidence in laboratory studies that nicotine may promote existing cancers.

However, when separated through the toxins in tobacco smoke and found in its pure form, there is very little proof of long-term harm from nicotine exposure in humans outside pregnancy and adolescence.

Reports have found the medical risks from vaping are unlikely to become greater than 5% of the chance of smoking, and could well be substantially below this. As the majority of flavored vapor cigarette users are smokers or recent ex-smokers, this represents a massive health benefit for individuals who move to vaping.

The result of vaping on bystanders is additionally regarded as negligible. E-cigarettes release low levels of nicotine and minimal amounts of other chemicals to the ambient air. The expired vapour dissipates quickly with no significant health problems to bystanders.

Recent reports have found nicotine is much less toxic than previously thought. Many cases of intentional overdose with nicotine solutions lead to prompt vomiting and full recovery.

Similarly, accidental poisoning in youngsters typically causes mild adverse effects. Serious outcomes are rare. Most child poisoning with nicotine may be prevented with common sense, childproof packaging and warning labels, the same as other potentially toxic medicines and cleaning products located in the home.

Overseas experience has demonstrated e-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking for young people. Although adolescents are experimenting with e-cigarettes, regular use by non-smokers is rare. The fantastic majority of adolescents use nicotine-free e-cigarettes.

In reality, the evidence suggests e-cigarettes are acting as being an “exit gateway” and therefore are displacing smoking. It is actually obviously better for young adults to not use e-cigarettes, but vaping is better than smoking.

Smokers who are attempting to reduce the health hazards from smoking are utilizing e-cigarettes almost exclusively as a safer alternative to combustible tobacco. After a decade of overseas’ experience, there is certainly xocplg evidence e-cigarettes are renormalising smoking, are undermining tobacco control or are being used to the significant extent for temporary, not permanent, abstinence (for instance, in places that you can’t smoke).

Why nicotine needs to be legalised

Paradoxically, current Australian laws ban a less harmful form of nicotine intake (e-cigarettes) while allowing the widespread sale of the most lethal type of nicotine intake (cigarettes). In spite of the legal restrictions and difficulties of access, electronic cigarette use has become growing rapidly around australia.

Amending the Poisons Standard would allow smokers who definitely are unable or unwilling to stop smoking to legally access low concentrations of nicotine for harm reduction. Additionally it is legally found in nicotine-replacement therapies including patches, so why not e-cigarettes?

Regulation under the Australian Consumer Law would improve product safety and quality, restrict sales to minors and ensure child-resistant containers and appropriate advertising. It might also remove the black market as well as the risks connected with it.

A recent study estimated over 6 million European Union citizens used e-cigarettes to give up smoking. In the UK, 1.3 million ex-smokers are employing an e-cigarette. Similarly, chances are hundreds of thousands of Australians will quit smoking tobacco using e-cigarettes if nicotine is legally available.