Vapour Trails - 60 Minutes Australia Vaping Segment

  • 2 min read


Are electronic cigarettes and vaping starting to attract mainstream interest or maybe even acceptance?

On 9 April 2017 the Australian current affairs program 60 Minutes aired a segment  'Vapour Trails'on vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes. The segment attempted to offer relatively balance coverage on some of the big questions about vaping:

whether e cigarettes are safer compared to traditional smoking

whether nicotine in e-cigarettes should be legalised in Australia

concerns that vaping may be attractive to young people and normalise smoking

the credibility of Big Tobacco who are now getting behind e cigarettes

Interviewer Tara Brown touched on these issues through several interviews. For those of you who haven't yet seen the segment, here are the takeaways:

Dr David O'Riley Chief Scientist for British American Tobacco (BAT)
  • footage of tour inside BAT Southampton Laboratory, UK
  • BAT has invested $1 Billion dollars over the last five years in e cigarette research and development as they believe vaping will save lives
  • BAT sees vaping as being good for public health outcomes as well as being profitable for their bottom line (surprise, surprise)
Dr Nick Hopkinson, member of Royal College of Physicians, London UK
  • Royal College made landmark finding in 1962 that smoking was linked to cancer
  • support use of electronic cigarettes to improve health risks associated with smoking
  • states that whilst vaping does involve some harm, research has shown this to be less than 5% of harms associated with smoking
    Associate Professor for Public Health, Colin Mendelson, Australia
    • supports use of electronic cigarettes as this will save lives
    • states that whilst vaping does involve inhaling trace amounts of chemicals, this is far safer than smoking tobacco which kills 2 out of 3 long term smokers
    • after 10 years of e cigarette use there is no evidence of serious harm from vaping
      Professor John Skerrit, Australian Therapeutic Goods Association(TGA)
      • spoke very conservatively of concerns regarding e cigarette use and reasons for TGA decision to not legalise nicotine use in Australia (March 2017)
        Melbourne's own Wick & Wire!
        • dispute claims that vaping is a gateway to smoking
          Australian and UK vapers 
          • stories of their success in switching from smoking to vaping
          • current estimates of two million vapers in UK and half a million vapers in Australia

            It's refreshing to see vaping receive some relatively balanced coverage in the mainstream media, but the role of Big Tobacco in this is somewhat questionable. Can we really trust BT to do the right thing for the vaping industry, especially after they strenuously maintained a less than honest stance on the harms of smoking for so long?

            Whether you agree with content covered in this segment, or had your feathers completely ruffled .... bit by bit, our niche community is gaining that little bit more acceptance.

            Watch the full TV segment via this link:  60 Minutes Vaping Segment