Australia’s chief medical officer has made a grim prediction about our next post-Covid-19 ‘major health problem’.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has warned that vaping could be the next “big health problem” after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Professor Kelly said he was “deeply concerned” by the rise of e-cigarettes, particularly among young people who have not smoked traditional cigarettes.
His comments come as the National Health and Medical Research Council released its latest report on e-cigarettes on Thursday.
It turns out that all users of e-cigarettes are exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals and toxins, and there is limited evidence that the devices are effective in helping smokers quit.
Calls to the national poisons hotline about e-cigarettes more than doubled between 2020 and 2021.
After the report was published, Professor Kelly said: “The only thing we should be breathing is air.”
“There is no question that there is potential harm from e-cigarette use for those who have never smoked, and we know the harm of smoking,” he said.
“One of my colleagues recently said that e-cigarettes are the next big post-COVID health problem, and I think that’s a really important statement to take into account.
“Please discuss this evidence with your children, your nieces and nephews, students, players on your football or netball team, your brothers and sisters – we need that conversation out there.
Australia last October banned importing nicotine vaping products from foreign websites without a valid prescription from an Australian doctor.
It was already illegal for Australian retailers to sell nicotine vaping products, even to customers with a valid medical prescription.
But the devices, particularly colorful disposable vapes, are still readily available behind the counter in tobacconists and convenience stores across Australia.
And while fewer Australians smoke tobacco on a daily basis, e-cigarette use is increasing, particularly among young people.
The Australian Council on Smoking and Health has called on the government to ban the sale and promotion of e-cigarettes to young people.
Peter Dutton said Thursday he was open to debate on the issue.
“It’s not an illegal product. If it were banned, you would have the problems that come with a ban,” he said.
“I don’t want to see smoking rates increase and I don’t want to see the number of people smoking cigarettes increase.
“But the Ministry and the Government will be informed of these matters and we will see what happens.”
Originally published as Chief Medical Officer warns of the next post-Covid ‘major health problem’