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Why Unsmoking Australia Is Going Backwards

24 November 2021 by Pippa Starr

It’s the multi billion-dollar question that is not only costing the Australian economy in a bigger way than most realise, it is the question that hangs over 24000 Australian deaths and their morning families over the past year due to a smoking related illness.

Isn't Australia the best in the world at smoking rates declining?

The simple answer is far from it, NO!

In 2019 the AIHW survey calculated that 11.6 percent of Australians were daily smokers.

The latest indicators, like SISU survey data had the national smoking rate peaking at 16.8% in August 2020.

Low socio-economic Australia, who make up the majority of smokers, are paying more than ever before, that is if they aren’t feeding the booming illicit tobacco black market that is thriving on the back of twice annual price hikes of 12.5%.

Australians just aren’t quitting in ways that they seem allowed to. Many Australians rely on vaping nicotine to become free from the deadly coffin nails.

Since October when vapers had to get a prescription from a doctor to legally vape in Australia, we have not only seen Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt address the world health organisation conceding that Australia has a smoking rate of 14 percent, he also claimed he was going to release a plan early in the new year that will see Australia’s smoking rates get under 5% by 2030.

I like many Australian’s don’t know what planet he is flying around but I’m suggesting that based on current trends, it would be a major feat to see the real Australian smoking rate get below 10% this decade.

I say the real smoking rate because it is difficult to calculate a massive black market that appears to supply more than 1 in 5 Australian smokers their daily fix of nicotine.

It is probably to soon to say how many vapers have gone back to smoking since new prescription laws were put in place, but it is most likely hundreds of thousands.

How did Australia get into this mess where, put quite simply, unsmoking Australia is nosediving into a situation where more Australians keep dying each year than the previous, and the year before that.

To say it’s complicated is an understatement, prohibitionist measures like price hikes on tobacco products are clearly not helping, while also making people who wish to quit smoking with the worlds most effective method (ie.vaping nicotine) get a prescription is not helping either.

While Greg Hunt and many other representatives from within Government bodies swear that they are being guided by the best science and the best guidance to help Australia quit smoking, it appears that they are mainly being guided and infiltrated by non – governmental organisation interests.

Regardless, of how this backwards situation has come about, it’s past time for a full and thorough investigation to find out where and how the Australian Government are obtaining their best information from that clearly is not delivering Australia the best outcomes when it comes to harms caused by smoking .

For that to happen the government would have to admit that they couldn’t do better than they have. In Australia that is about as common as having a crocodile knock at your front door.

It is with all that in mind that I have taken on the most ambitious research project I have ever undertaken.

I have taken it upon myself, in a fully independent project to research the chronology and genealogy of the current perceptions of nicotine and harm reduction by analyzing the directional flow of policy creation and how that impacts consumers.

In simpler terms who got us in this mess, what allowed this to happen, where were the events that led to this situation happening, why was this able to happen and who is ultimately responsible.

This study is diving into analysing funded grants, who is funding them, with what outcomes and who the journalists are that jump on certain papers to publish the outcomes to the masses and why.

I am also diving into the history of the relationships that have developed around smoking and vaping prevention over the last 20 years that has seemingly become a self-reliant ecosystem that appears to have taken over forming most Australian government policy measures when it comes to the use of nicotine.

This is a huge task that has kept me pinned to my desk for 70 hours a week for the last few months, yet I am only about 30% through the research outline.

The goal at the end of this project is to present you the reader and fellow Australians with the clearest and most understandable picture of why unsmoking Australia is going backwards, so we can learn from the experience and Australia can learn how to become a world leader again in the reduction of harms from smoking.

The methods in which my research will be finally published will be:

1/ An intuitive website where you can find out as much as you like in a clear yet concise and well referenced manor.

2/ A Book

3/ A Movie - Documentary.

At the end of it, I hope that we are able to learn more from our mistakes and become even prouder of our healthier and smoke free future!

If you have an interesting story or reference that you would like to see being taken into account within this project, please do not hesitate to contact me at


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