Vaping is a significantly cheaper alternative to smoking, yet it is banned, Colin Mendelsohn says. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Vaping is a significantly cheaper alternative to smoking, yet it is banned, Colin Mendelsohn says. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Opinion: ‘Vaping a safer alternative for smokers’

Ongoing divide

THE recent release of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report 'Burden of Tobacco use in Australia' revealed the ongoing divide between city and regional public health outcomes again.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Australia and claims the lives of more than 21,000 Australians each year. Rural people have higher smoking rates and suffer up to 1.8 times the harm from smoking compared to those in major cities.

As a general practitioner and harm reduction specialist for more than 30 years it's frustrating to see it being neglected, particularly in the bush.

The Government has allocated a miserly $25 million for a media campaign over four years but has no other new strategies to reduce the smoking rate, which has stalled since 2013.

In contrast, smoking rates are falling faster than ever in countries such as the UK and US where vaping is a central part of their quit smoking strategy.

Vaping is a far safer alternative for smokers who are unable to quit with conventional treatments and is actively encouraged by the UK and New Zealand governments. It is perplexing that Australia remains the only Western democracy to ban vaping.

People in rural areas are suffering from a heartbreaking drought. They are also being punished financially by the high tobacco prices. Vaping is a significantly cheaper alternative to smoking, yet it is banned.

All Australians, especially those in rural and remote areas should question why effective, lifesaving alternatives such as vaping are not available to Australian smokers.

Colin Mendelsohn, foundation chairman and board member, Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association


Gold Coast freeway

QUEENSLAND'S Labor Government has just announced that it will build a second freeway on the Gold Coast. As with every other freeway in the southeast, the whole state will pay for it but it's not the whole state that will use it much.

So, on behalf of One Nation and the LNP - who appear too lazy to do it themselves - I announce that after the government changes at the next election, tolls will be imposed on all existing freeways in the southeast. There will be a toll on this new freeway when it's finished too.

This is the only way to release the money presently locked up in freeways, so that it can be recycled to pay for the upgrading of the Bruce Highway from near Brisbane to Cairns.

Yes, the whole state will once again be paying for a road not all of the state's people will get to use much, but it's the southeast's turn to be in that position.

Grant Agnew,

Coopers Plains


It's a crisis

THE tone of the Courier Mail editorial (14/10/19) goes a long way overboard with its criticism of the actions threatening the sanctity of the fossil fuel industry.

By subscribing to the notion that we can continue business as usual is a dangerous fiction, completely at odds with the work of climate scientists. Overwhelmingly they agree the world is facing an existential threat and that the time for remedial action is pressing and vital to our continued existence as a species.

Allan Jones raging at the actions of protesters is a type of sideshow better ignored.

More than half of Australians are worried about the climate emergency and support concerted action to avert our extinction.

Steve Bulloch, Mackay