Vapers' perspectives on electronic cigarette regulation in Australia




Keane, Helen
Fraser, Doug
Weier, Megan
Gartner, Coral

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Background: The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), also known as personal vaporisers (PVs), has increased rapidly in Australia despite legal barriers to the sale, possession and use of nicotine for non-therapeutic purposes. Australia is one of many countries in the process of developing regulations for these devices yet knowledge of consumers' views on e-cigarette regulation is lacking. Methods: An online survey was completed by 705 e-cigarette users recruited online. Participants answered questions about their smoking history, e-cigarette use, as well as their opinions on appropriate regulation of e-cigarettes. Results: Most participants were male (71%), employed (72%), and highly educated (68% held post-school qualification). They tended to be former heavy smokers who had stopped smoking entirely and were currently vaping. Participants generally agreed that the government should enforce minimum labelling and packaging standards and there was majority support for minimum quality standards. Most supported making e-cigarettes available for sale to anyone over the age of 18, but expressed concern about the government's motivation for regulating e-cigarettes. There was strong opposition to restricting sales to a medicines framework (prescription only or pharmacy only sales). Conclusion: E-cigarette users in Australia are in favour of e-cigarettes being regulated as long as those regulations do not impede their ability to obtain devices and refill solutions, which they view as important for them to remain smoke free. These views align with some aspects of appropriate policy designed to maximise the public health potential of e-cigarettes in society, but conflict with some of the proposed regulatory models. Governments should consider how future regulation of e-cigarettes will affect current consumers while helping to maximise the number of smokers who switch to e-cigarettes and minimise the possibility of non-smokers becoming addicted to nicotine.





International Journal of Drug Policy


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