MP ‘smokes’ in parliamentary chamber to highlight e-cigarette danger

MEDIA RELEASE – 27 May 2015

The Greens NSW health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today ‘smoked’ an electronic cigarette in the NSW Legislative Council chamber during Question Time to highlight the fact that there are currently no laws to prevent smoking e-cigarettes indoors in NSW.

“The Greens are very concerned that the restrictions under the Smoke-Free Environment Act 2000 do not apply to e-cigarettes or vaping, and that ‘vaping’ is legal on buses, trains, in childcare centres, schools, cafes and even in the NSW Parliament,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“I ‘smoked’ an e-cigarette in the parliamentary chamber today to highlight the loophole that allows e-cigarettes to be used in areas where smoking tobacco has been prohibited.  I was shut down by the parliament.

“If it is not acceptable to smoke an e-cigarette in the parliament, then why is it acceptable to smoke one in a childcare centre, or school, or hospital, or café, bus or train?

“Smoking in the parliamentary chamber was banned in 1993.  The Smoke-Free Environment Act in 2000 recognised the dangers of passive smoke and legislated a ban in certain indoor areas. However, the ban only applies to tobacco, and does not cover vaping.

“While e-cigarettes may be less dangerous than tobacco, they still include a cocktail of chemicals including highly addictive nicotine, and they pose the danger of re-normalising smoking behaviours and make it attractive to young people.

“While the government is moving to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, it is delaying action on other measures to regulate e-cigarettes.

“The Greens share the concerns of medical professionals, the Cancer Council and the Heart Foundation, that e-cigarettes could undo much of the good work Australia has done to combat smoking.

“Big tobacco is clearly trying to make smoking cool and sexy, with flavours, colours, and marketing that appeal to young people.  Marketing an addictive product in this way should not be allowed to occur and the government should act.

“The Greens believe e-cigarettes should be treated like tobacco.”

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

Footage from the parliamentary chamber

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