To vape or not to vape? As Nicola Ranger looks at “vaping,” an alternative that quitting smokers are embracing, how is the sale of e-cigs still not legalised in Australia?
Here I sit at my computer, taking a relaxing puff on a virtually contraband substance. There is just a hint of a smell in the air after each puff – for those who share this habit, the smell will instantly give me away.
Today, it’s a fruity grape aroma.
Tomorrow, it might be sweet coffee or refreshing peppermint.
I am talking, of course, about my electronic cigarette.
I’m not smoking, I’m “vaping.”
“Vape” has just been declared as the Oxford Dictionary “International word of the year for 2014,” which tells you something about just how commonplace electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are becoming. Given that ubiquitous UK pharmacy chain Boots now sells e-cigs, Australia seems to be a little behind in legitimising this recent social development.
Among the roughly 18 percent of Australians who haven’t quite kicked the habit of needing something to puff on, vaping is becoming increasingly popular, despite the fact that vape products containing nicotine are not licensed for sale in this country. The laws regarding personal possession and use vary from state to state.
I’ve never really thought seriously about quitting smoking until recently. I’ve heard horror stories of crazy thoughts and dreams apparently caused by nicotine patches and by the smoking cessation drugs prescribed by GPs.
And have you ever tried using a nicotine throat spray? It’s nowhere near as easy as it looks on the ads, but at least by the time I’d finished choking on it I’d forgotten all about wanting a smoke.
My e-cig is easy to use, subtle to carry (could almost be mistaken for a ballpoint pen in my hand) and satisfies both the craving in my mind and the craving for my hand to just be, you know, holding something. I can have two puffs, or twenty, every hour or just a couple of times a day.
So why is vaping such a legal minefield?
The political worry with legalising the sale of vape products is that vaping will make smoking cool again. There are also health worries about the effects of passive vaping, for which there is, at this point in time, no useful research.
These are certainly valid concerns, but the fact is vaping is happening right here, right now and it’s helping adults to give up tobacco.
It would be nice to have some licensing and regulation so that Australians can buy nicotine e-cigs in stores and be assured of buying a quality product. With legislation, everyone could be clear on where vaping is and isn’t allowed in public – as it is, the vaping community is developing its own etiquette.
Legalising the sale of e-cigs containing nicotine could be an easy win for the government in the war on tobacco – it’s an alternative that the smokers actually want.
To celebrate being a year old we want you, the readers, to help us decide the articles you loved best during our first year – and to encourage you to participate, we are giving away three prizes!
All you have to do is look through our archives of content and email us your favourite article – and also if you want, the one you weren’t so up with. From the submissions, we will assess the most-loved content from our first year and republish it at the end of our birthday month.
Both writers and readers are encouraged to enter (no, Paris, you cannot nominate your own articles…#justsaying), so please email us at [email protected] by Nov 30 to enter! Please include your name, address and mobile number.
And the prizes are…(did we mention there are prizes…?)
First prize: A brilliant acting course based in Sydney and hosted by Darlo Drama worth $550!
Second prize: A gift pack from our friends at Booktopia
Third prize: Four movie passes
(Plus watch out for a couple of other competitions during our birthday month!)