A seminar on the ethics and pragmatics of policies towards the use of ‘e cigarettes’


Professor Wayne Hall

(University of Queensland, Australia)

Should Australia lift its ban on electronic nicotine devices?
Reflections on the ethics and implications of Australian policy debates

Over the past 30 years the daily smoking prevalence among Australian adults has declined to 16% thanks to: higher tobacco taxes; bans on cigarette advertising; smoke-free policies in all public spaces, pubs, clubs and workplaces; and graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. One policy that has never been part of the mix is tobacco harm reduction, any policy that aims to reduce the health consequences of smoking by encouraging smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit to use smokeless tobacco (SLT) and e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery devices (ENDS). This is because SLT and ENDS are both banned in Australia. In this paper I examine the ethical and policy issues raised by the current bans on ENDS sales in Australia and by various ways in which ENDS and SLT could be sold for recreational use, if the ban was lifted. I also outline some policy compromises that would allow Australian smokers to use ENDS while addressing some of the concerns raised by those who support the current ban on ENDS.

Professor Virginia Berridge
(Centre for History in Public Health, LSHTM)

Discussant: E-cigarettes and history

The comment will survey the longer history of ‘safer smoking’ in the UK and the US since the 1960s and the redefinition of nicotine since the 1970s. It analyses the dilemmas for public health in an era of harm reduction.

Tuesday, 24th June 2014, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Manson Lecture Theatre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street