Australia should legalise electronic cigarettes with nicotine if the country is serious about improving its health according to a leading academic.
Professor Tony Blakely from the University of Melbourne made the claims as he cited the serious impact of tobacco smoking on the health of the nation, and on the country’s healthcare sector.
Unlike in the United Kingdom, New Zealand or United States, electronic cigarettes featuring nicotine are only available with a prescription in Australia, and professor Blakely believes that this could be having a negative impact on the country’s population.
Studying data from New Zealand, a range of positive outcomes have been identified following the country’s decision to legalise nicotine e-lites, with these no solely linked to the health of individual.
According to figures, legalising the devices gained Kiwis around 236,000 quality adjusted life years, with this saving the healthcare system in the country an estimated $815 per person - money that could then be spent on other areas.
Despite the positives however Professor Blakely acknowledges accepts that nicotine based electronic cigarettes can be seen as more attractive to young people - however pointed to a joint US/UK report which showed little impact on youth smoking rates when they were introduced.
Electronic cigarettes are hugely controversial, with many medics split on their effectiveness. Should they be promoted as an alternative to tobacco, or do they simply transfer the problem? Let us know your views via our social media channels.