Cancer Council WA is calling for the ban on all e-cigarette liquids after it was revealed some Perth retailers were blatantly displaying fruit and chocolate-flavoured e-cigarette liquids next to children's toys and lollies.
Make Smoking History Manager, Libby Jardine, said these products are evidently designed to appeal to young people.
"In recent years we have seen the proliferation of shops in WA selling enticing e-liquids with thousands of attractive flavours like ‘Juicy Watermelon', ‘Dutch Chocolate' and ‘Blueberry Burst'," Ms Jardine said.
"It's very concerning that ‘non-nicotine' liquids are currently available in WA as two recent Australian studies found that around 60 per cent of ‘nicotine-free' e- liquids analysed actually contained nicotine."
Lead author of one of these studies, Associate Professor Alexander Larcombe, from the Telethon Kids Institute said that there is no way to know what's in these products based on the label.
"Young people should not have access to these products. We know that they contain a range of potentially toxic chemicals that people are inhaling into their lungs," Ass. Prof. Larcombe said.
"We know that in the USA and Canada there has been an explosion of e-cigarette use by teens with US officials describing it as ‘an epidemic'. We want to protect young people here in Western Australia."
Cancer Council's Ms Jardine said the tobacco industry has invested heavily in e-cigarettes and this is a real cause for alarm. There is no evidence they are producing less tobacco products overall, just addicting more people through new products like e-cigarettes.
"Big Tobacco have tried to argue that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking, but if they worked as a quitting tool, they would be approved by Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration and sold under strict rules - not flaunted online and in retail outlets for young people to try," she said.
"There is growing evidence that e-cigarettes are an on-ramp for smoking for children and young people.
"Australia is lucky to have one of the lowest smoking rates in the world. When it comes to continuing to drive down Australian smoking rates, what we need is more of what works, such as hard-hitting antismoking public education campaigns, and protections to take our successes in tobacco control into the next generation - safe from industry peddling and meddling."
Australian non-nicotine liquid studies
A team led by Associate Professor Alexander Larcombe, Head of Respiratory and Environmental Health at Telethon Kids and part of the School of Public Health at Curtin University, had an independent commercial laboratory test the ten e-liquids.
For support to Quit:
- Contact the Quitline:
- Call the Quitline on 13 7848,
- Chat online at quitlinewa.org.au or
- Request a call back by texting 0477 765 007
- Download MyQuitBuddy app
- Visit makesmokinghistory.org.au
- Seek advice and support from your GP, Aboriginal Health Worker or pharmacist
- Visit QuitCoach
Make Smoking History is an initiative of Cancer Council WA and proudly supported by the Department of Health WA and Healthway.