by Pippa Starr
23 May 2022
Another era begins as we swear in a new Labor prime minister Anthony Albanese.
Most Australians are now keenly awaiting a better future and how that looks under this new Labor government.
One issue that really didn’t get any attention during the recent Australian federal electoral campaign and was quietly yet significantly noticed by over 600000 Australians who have quit smoking and over 24000 families who have lost a loved one to smoking last year, is how will this government handle this issue, that takes more lives each year than when Bill Shorten fell short at the last election.
Can Australia finally see action that former minister for health Greg Hunt clearly failed on as Australia slips way behind countries like New Zealand and the UK on smoking rates?
The fact is that smoking rates have not significantly declined in Australia for almost a decade.
It’s disturbing to consider that smoking rates are probably getting worse. The accuracy of such data is now massively distorted due to the unaccountable black market that has grown significantly, if the avalanche of ABF illicit tobacco busts are anything to go buy.
The government knows, and blind Freddy knows that the people who are smoking the most are those who are the most marginalised by geography, race, mental health status and economic status.
The ridiculously high prices of tobacco have done nothing to slow down smoking rates in this country, but it has seen significantly more people purchasing their weekly smokes from their local black market dealer rather than conveniently accessed at tobacconists, supermarkets and convenience stores.
Last month, I travelled around Brisbane on foot and asked some of the higher income people who smoke that had good jobs paying over $100000 per year, where do they buy their cigarettes?
I wasn’t surprised learn that around half were buying their cigarettes via black market co-operatives.
One lady said “They taste a bit awful, but it’s too hard to find a doctor to get a prescription to get the nicotine for vaping, otherwise I would give that a good go”.
According to real research at least 68% of smokers were able to permanently quit smoking with nicotine vaping products. Some experts tout that it could be much more successful with better access to products and in a market environment where more flavours and devices are easier to access.
Another lady, I spoke to in Brisbane said, “What’s the point of using other nicotine products like patches, sprays, gums? I’ve been there done all that, none of it worked, so nicotine vaping won’t work, beside it’s the nicotine that will kill you anyway?’.
This lady was only one example of many who said similar things like this. For those that don’t know, nicotine is not the deadly evil component that it is portrayed to be. Sure, it may assist dependence in a very similar way to you depending on a good, brewed coffee every morning. In fact, the responding receptors in the brain are very similar in both the use of nicotine and caffeine. The addiction is aided with the clever concoction of combusted chemicals in a cigarette and the deadly stuff that kills smokers is in the smoke and the tar.
There are now around 80 million people across the world and 600000 Australians who are/have successfully quit smoking via nicotine vaping, with very little to no deadly side effects.
In fact, there has NOT been one death or deadly disease caused anywhere in the world by vaping nicotine.
Most former smokers who have vaped and not smoked for a period of time mostly say they know they feel better, fitter and healthier.
Now back to Albo, and the shiny new Labor government,
what will his team do to catch up with the rest of the modern world that understands the real science of vaping rather than the rubbish science that gets splashed into media circles often initiated by those who depend on smoking being an ongoing problem to keep the Australian Govt grants and funds rolling into their bank accounts?
When will Australia see smoking declines in under 10% as they are in NZ where vaping products are a lot easier to access for smokers.
When will Australia see vape shops open in Hospitals as they are in the UK to help and encourage smokers to finally quit the deadly smokes?
When will Australia become the clever country again rather than a “hope for the best as we pork barrel and virtue signal”?
When will Albo and his shiny new government choose to quit the unnecessary bleeding of taxes and bodies lost at a rate of more than 60 deaths per day rather than delivering a sensible, risk proportionate approach that encourages health!
Or will the Albo Government continue with the current program, killing off the most marginalised of Australians?
Prime minister Albo, made it clear in his victory speech, that he was going to help indigenous Australians. Indigenous Australians smoking rates are a national shame and disgrace at around nearly 40%.
When will Albo realise the government are pouring hundreds of millions into quit smoking programs with very little achievement to write home about other than some snakes and ladders activities for indigenous schools displaying Nicorette patches and colourful poster drawing for anti vaping programs that deliver misleading information, designed to scare indigenous Australians away from quitting smoking?
Albo talks the big talk about “A better future” but will he walk the walk?
Will Albo's government regulate vaping proportionate to risk so that a ridiculous street market of vaping products getting into our kids hands is quashed?
When will he remove the ridiculous prohibitive model that only encourages cashflow into the black market and prevents taxes leaking by billions of dollars every year into the Australian Govt. ?
When will Albo run a government that no longer relies on Tobacco taxes being the 4th highest source of tax revenue?
Will Albo and his team have the gutz and determination to truly make smoking history?
Because the circus clown act of a few that have gotten away with extorting Australian taxes under the guise of helping people quit smoking needs to not only be scrutinised and have strict KPIs applied, they should also be subjected to a major investigation. Why?
Their misleading and inaccurate guidance around the most successful quitting method ie.vaping, has been built into Australia’s health vernacular. They have persuaded Australian governments from within sub departments, often by cleverly distorting and wordsmithing evidence to influence themselves to ultimately getting more funding on tap and that has to stubbed out!
Often these are the same people who made their big bucks off the back of quit smoking programmes in the eighties and nineties, yet now the irony is, they are addicted to the financial benefits of that prior success that now see further smoking rate declines stagnating or worse.
Will Albo wake up and realise that it is clear that Australians have been jooped, pick pocketed, sold a furphy and been hoodwinked over the last decade by a select few?
It’s past time he does, because it effects those marginalised in housing commission homes, many with mental illness, those on NDIS programs and the indigenous.
Most of them WILL DIE sooner as a result if ALBO doesn’t get real evidence based harm reduction methods like vaping back on the table as soon as possible and dealt with in a way that is similar or better to those countries where smoking rates are in real decline.
Countries that have far better declining smoking rates than Australia haven’t got there due to some sort of hocus pocus wordsmithing, data smithing, media splash approach,
rather with the real evidence that nicotine vaping does help and it can benefit,
it can also benefit all Australians with decreased deaths and economic burdens too!
The time is overdue! Albo, what will you and your government do? Tick Tick Tick