Liberal party MPs push to overturn e-cigarette ban, despite previous parliamentary inquiry opposing legalisation.
The health minister Greg Hunt has agreed to an independent inquiry into the health impacts of nicotine e-cigarettes after a concerted push in the Coalition party room over several months to legalise vaping.
Several MPs raised the issue in Tuesday’s party room meeting, saying there was widespread support within the government for making nicotine e-cigarettes legally available.
Tuesday’s discussion was triggered by the New South Wales Liberal Trent Zimmerman, who earlier this year chaired a parliamentary inquiry into the use and marketing of electronic cigarettes and personal vaporisers in Australia.
In a rare event for a committee chair, Zimmerman produced a dissenting report departing from the majority position of the health committee. The majority opposed legalising nicotine e-cigarettes.
Zimmerman argued in his dissenting report that nicotine e-cigarettes be made available as consumer products “in order to assist the millions of smokers struggling to quit tobacco smoking and improve their quality of life”.
“While the evidence base regarding e-cigarettes is still emerging, there are clear indications that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to human health than smoking tobacco cigarettes,” he wrote in March.
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