Smoking is the single most important preventable cause of ill health and death in Australia. Tobacco use is known to cause certain cancers and increase the risk of other diseases and congenital abnormalities. Surgical outcomes are consistently poorer for smokers than non-smokers, with patients who smoke experiencing longer recovery times, increased risk of wound infection, and significantly increased risk for myocardial infarction and stroke. Smokers also have a higher post-surgery mortality rate than non-smokers.

RACS is a strong supporter of the goal outlined in the Commonwealth Government's National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018 to reduce the smoking rate from 15.1 per cent of the population in 2012 to 10 per cent by 2018. In 2012 Australia became the first country in the world to introduce plain packaging laws, and alongside yearly excise increases, plain packaging has proven to be an effective form of tobacco control.

RACS does not endorse the use of e-cigarettes in any way, either for therapeutic or recreational purposes, and believes they should be treated with the same level of caution as tobacco products.

RACS recommends:

  • Prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors under the age of 18.

  • The requirement of a specific licence to sell e-cigarettes and/or components.

  • Prohibiting the display e-cigarettes in sales outlets.

  • Prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes via vending machines.

  • Introducing and tightening regulations concerning e-cigarette ingredients, with particular regard to flavours which appeal to children and young people.

  • Requiring the use of child-proof caps, tamper-evident packaging, health warnings and ingredient lists on e-cigarette and e-liquid products.

  • Prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in areas that are smoke-free under other regulations.

  • Prohibiting free distribution and awards associated with sales of e-cigarettes.

  • Prohibiting advertising and sponsorship associated with e-cigarettes.

Many of these recommendations are in line with the findings of the South Australian Parliament Select Committee on e-Cigarettes.

Read the complete submission at the link below.