1. No punitive actions towards, nor criminalisation of the use of vapes/e-cigarettes.
The ATDC advocates against criminalising personal use and the possession of all vapes/e-cigarette products in Tasmania. Penalising personal use of any drug promotes stigma and acts to stop people from accessing treatment and support. The regulation of vapes/e-cigarettes should focus on the manufacturers, importation and illegal sales by retailers, and their products, not the people who buy them.
2. Increased investment for research into the social and health impacts of use.
The ATDC acknowledges the diverse viewpoints regarding the support, or otherwise on the use of vapes/e-cigarettes. The ATDC calls for increased investment for research on the social and health impact of these products to build greater capacity in the health sector to respond. Increased knowledge will assist in the development and implementation of interventions and education to discuss what they are, why people use them and how they may impact health and wellbeing. Until such time as a broader knowledge base is established, the ATDC adopts a cautionary approach to the use of vapes/e-cigarettes.
3. Immediate action to deliver evidence‑based harm-reduction education.
Given the differing perspectives on vaping/e-cigarette use, the ATDC advocates for immediate action to deliver evidence-based harm reduction education and interventions with clear health messaging. Proactive education will have a positive impact on the health of Tasmanians who either currently use or would consider using these products in the future. This is considered particularly critical, given that vaping/e-cigarettes is an emerging trend with anecdotal evidence suggesting a three-fold increase in use by children and young people.
4. A continued focus on tightening regulation on importation and sales.
The ATDC supports the regulation of vapes/e-cigarettes (both nicotine and fruit flavoured) and maintains that this should be accompanied within a wider approach that includes prevention, health promotion and treatment services. We support the Australian Alcohol and other Drug Council (AADC) and the Tasmanian Government in their positions to maintain the focus on improving the regulation, labelling, and tightening of the importation of vapes/e-cigarette products. The ATDC strongly echoes the AADC’s calls for the voice of lived experience to be included in any relevant decision-making, advisory or implementation structures and groups on this matter.
5. Clear clinical guidelines for ATOD client-centred treatment services.
Whilst there are mixed views in the alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) sector on the efficacy of vapes/e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool, clear clinical guidance for ATOD treatment settings is required to provide guidance to treatment providers. Alongside existing concerns are examples of clients who have used vapes/e-cigarettes to stop smoking when nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has not been successful. In the absence of clear clinical guidelines, treatment providers are faced with the uncertainty of balancing the principles of client-centred care (supporting people who choose to use vapes/e-cigarettes) with the concerns around potential long-term health harms to clients.
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The ATDC acknowledges the Tasmanian Aboriginal community as the traditional custodians of Tasmania and recognises the importance of working together.
The ATDC gratefully acknowledges the financial and other support provided by the Tasmanian Department of Health, Primary Health Tasmania and the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.
Quality Innovation Performance Accredited.
The ATDC is a Quality Innovation Performance (QIP) accredited organisation against the Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES).