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The National Retail Association (NRA) has welcomed the decision by the Commonwealth Senate to launch an inquiry into nicotine vaping products, claiming it as a win for common sense.

Introduced by Government Senators Hollie Hughes and Matt Canavan, the Senate has agreed to establish an inquiry, with the Tobacco Harm Reduction Committee to report back on meaningful ways to reduce tobacco harm in Australia.

It follows a recent draft ruling by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, blasted by the NRA as “ridiculous and inconsistent”, that deemed that smoke-free nicotine products should be restricted to pharmacists and purchased only with a prescription.

NRA spokesperson David Stout said the NRA is thankful to Senators Hughes and Canavan for their work on this issue and look forward to participating in a process of proper consultation with industry.

“The TGA ruling would damage tens of thousands of small retailers across Australia who rely on tobacco sales to support their businesses, but who want access to a less harmful alternative,” Mr Stout said.

“It makes no sense whatsoever that retail businesses are permitted to sell cigarettes but that they should be prevented from selling less harmful alternatives that help people quit smoking.

“Almost every other OECD country permits the use of nicotine vaping and its legalisation is supported by the World Health Organisation. It makes no sense to make it even harder for consumers to switch from cigarettes, while having people clogging up doctors surgeries to get prescriptions.

Mr Stout said the NRA looked forward to putting the views forward of their nationwide membership as part of a sober and thorough inquiry into vaping products.

“The very fact that the TGA has decided to allow nicotine vaping is recognition that it is a safer option for smokers. We hope that this senate inquiry provides an opportunity to reset and properly analyse the facts.

“We look forward to outlining the case as to a sensible and consistent outcome would be to allow the sale of smoke-free nicotine in the same places and with the same legal restrictions as currently applied to cigarettes and tobacco.”

The committee is likely to table its report at the beginning of next year and the NRA encourages all individuals and retailers who feel strongly about this issue to write submissions to the Senate Committee.


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