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New South Wales Plans To Ban Outdoor Vaping

New South Wales Plans To Ban Outdoor Vaping


Australia’s state governments are clamping down with restrictive vaping laws, making it harder for people to vape wherever they want. The latest is a plan for e-cigs and vapor products to be banned outdoors in the state of New South Wales. This continues the country’s regressive stance on vaping that is generally out of step with the Western world and which still faces regular challenges at the national level.

This isn’t the first state on the continent to enact a ban on outdoor vaping. South Wales would be the fifth state, with the other four being Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia. Additionally, the Australian Capital Territory also has a ban.

Calls to ban electronic cigarettes in smoke-free areas of New South Wales have been backed by the State's Health Minister who is siding with the country's top health organisations.Several groups like the Cancer Council, Council on Smoking Health, and Heart Foundation urged the NSW Government to legislate the change.

Fear of the Unknown

The reason for the proposed ban is unclear, but critics believe it could be due to ignorance about vaping and a fear of the unknown.

"We don't actually know what's in the e-cigarette vapour, you could be sitting on a bus and the person sitting next to you using an e-cigarette could actually have nicotine in it and you're breathing in that vapour," said Wendy Oakes from the Heart Foundation.

"Also, if people are using e-cigarettes on buses, in offices, in trains, in cafes, in restaurants, that's going to be really difficult for those people who have quit smoking to actually maintain that.

"They'll constantly be exposed to the sight of people who are doing something that looks to all intensive purposes like smoking."

Institutional Support

The NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he supported the calls and said that he wanted to work on an “evidence basis” although no evidence has been put forth.

"I am very sympathetic as Health Minister to the calls of the various organisations who after all are just raising their concerns about a health issue that e-cigarettes could cause," he said.

"It'll be worked through on an evidence basis."

But Hazzard called for a national approach on the issue.

"We all thought e-cigarettes were a happy medium but now... research is unfolding that they're problematic," he said.

"It would be preferable if we could have all Governments around the country look at this issue and try and come to an approach where it's exactly the same on one side of the border to the other."

Out Of Step

Vaping advocates have complained that Australia has been regressive and out-of-step with policies surrounding e-cigs for a while. The Therapeutic Goods Administration monitors and regulates the importation and sale of any type of vape product after designating that anything with nicotine in it is a “poison.”

Their neighbors New Zealand, on the other hand, are perhaps the most progressive country for legislation in the vaping world.

In November 2017, an ABC article posed the question as to whether the country was headed in the wrong direction with regard to vapor product legislation, while Australian politicians argued vehemently against any leniency for vape products, despite research that suggested vaping helped in cessation of cigarettes.

The fight for Australians' right to vape is one that we've been watching for some time now - and unfortunately, it doesn't look like one that's going to go away any time soon...