A LOBBY group called the Australian Retail Vaping Industry Association, part of the Australian Retailers Association, has criticised Senator Stirling Griff for engineering the passage of a motion calling for a ban on nicotine liquid imports.

Senator Griff, part of the Centre Alliance, introduced the motion, and was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald as saying the widespread importation of vaping liquids was “very concerning” in the light of vaping-related lung illness cases in the US, “including dozens of deaths”.

Health minister Greg Hunt also has indicated the government had “a strict commitment to opposing vaping or any liberalisation on laws”.

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But ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said thousands of Australian retail businesses were eager to sell “scientifically proven, less harmful vaping products” as alternatives to traditional combustible tobacco.

Every other OECD nation except Turkey allows adult consumers to purchase vaping products, as scientific evidence clearly verifies our position that vaping saves lives and helps smokers quit their habit,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Senator Griff’s motion contravenes evidence from respected regulatory authorities including Public Health England and the US FDA that nicotine vaping is at least 95% less harmful than combustible tobacco.

“Vaping products are reducing smoking rates in every country in which they have been legalised.” Mr Zimmerman said that in the same week the New Zealand government tabled legislation to allow nicotine vaping products to be sold, it was “unfathomable that anyone would find the case for Australia to remain the last developed country in the world, to make these products available compelling”.

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