Australian health minister softens on vaping, calling for inquiry

After a long period of opposition to vaping, Australia’s health minister has moved to set up an independent inquiry into the health impact of nicotine e-cigarettes.

The partial change of tack follows a push by some members of the Liberal Party, to which minister Greg Hunt belongs, to fully legalise vaping.

As the law stands, vaping devices can be sold freely over the counter but users must import their nicotine-containing e-liquid from overseas – and can only do so with a medical certificate from a doctor.

In March this year a parliamentary inquiry rejected the full legalisation of e-cigs. But a dissenting report – backed by government MPs Trent Zimmerman and Tim Wilson – argued that while the evidence surrounding e-cigarettes “is still emerging, there are clear indications that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to human health than smoking tobacco cigarettes”.

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