Vaping nicotine ban not solution
In response to the article "Canberra vaping: Schools' warnings after pupils targeted to buy e-cigarettes" (The Advertiser, Sunday, May 2), it is important to note that regular vaping is rare in non-smokers. In 2019, the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) reported that 1.8% of young smokers had vaped once or more in the last year but only 1.3% of non-smokers (this figure also includes ex-smokers).
The frequency of vaping was not reported, but based on overseas experience, most use by never-smokers is likely to be infrequent. The reality is youth vaping rates are low and most use is experimental and infrequent. Regular vaping is largely confined to smokers or ex-smokers and is rare in never-smokers.
There are also concerns that young vapers may become addicted to nicotine. However, nicotine dependence is rare in young people who vape but have never previously smoked. In the 2018 US National Youth Tobacco Survey, less than four per cent of young never-smokers reported symptoms of nicotine dependence. Rather than being a gateway into smoking, vaping is a net gateway out of smoking for young people.
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Banning nicotine for vaping in Australia because of unfounded fears of harm to youth will deny addicted adult smokers the use of an effective quitting aid which could help lower smoking rates in Australia.
A better solution is to regulate nicotine vaping products to allow access for adult smokers who are unable to quit with conventional treatment and to restrict access by young people. The benefits to public health would be substantial.
Dr Joe Kosterich, Chairman, Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association
Perhaps socialism is a way forward
I don't understand what Jiri Kolenaty is so frightened of in his criticism of socialism. (The Advertiser, May 4) Socialism is about putting the interests of others, (the common good), ahead of individual self-interests. It is a philosophy of sharing.
Our universal health system, public schools, public transport, roads and all manner of infrastructure, government leadership in combating climate change, (a little lacking at a federal level at the moment), even our efforts to overcome the COVID crisis, are the product of the socialist impulse; of working together for the common good. The biggest critics of socialism are those who wish to maintain their excessive wealth and privilege.
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As a follower of Jesus, it has always seemed to me that socialism has much in common with his teachings, of our love for our neighbour, and our care for the poor and vulnerable. I would argue that the obscene disparity between the wealth of the rich, and the poverty of the poor is at the root of our economic problems - and much of the conflict in the world. Perhaps socialism is, in fact, a way forward.
Ken Rookes, California Gully
Act for a healthier future
Ching Ang's Mother's Day wish for a "climate-safe environment" for her young sons and all the world's children is beautiful ("Perfect time to reflect and act", The Advertiser April 6). I'm sure our concern is also for all humans and other species already killed or harmed by ever worsening climate change extremes. Let's all be filled with love and decide to act urgently for a far healthier future.
Barbara J Fraser, Burwood
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