May 6th 2011
Townsville residents warned e-cigarettes are poison
Queensland Health is warning people in the Townsville region not to buy e-cigarettes containing liquid nicotine, following the seizure of more than 70 consignments imported into the country.
Townsville Public Health Unit Environmental Health Manager David Sellars said Queensland Health had been advised Queenslanders were buying e-cigarettes from overseas websites and importing them into Australia.
“E-cigarettes are illegal in Australia,” he said. “They contain vials of liquid nicotine, which is a very dangerous poison.”
In the past month, Queensland Health has seized and destroyed about 70 consignments at Brisbane Airport’s postal screening service.
”It is classed as a Schedule 7 dangerous poison under the Australian Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons,” Mr Sellars said.
“If used inappropriately – or if children get hold of the liquid nicotine – the consequences can be fatal.”
The World Health Organisation’s International Program on Chemical Safety advises that 10mg of liquid nicotine can kill a child within five minutes of them swallowing it.
“The e-cigarettes are being misleadingly marketed as a safe alternative to cigarettes, and as an aid in withdrawal from tobacco smoking – but this is not the case,” Mr Sellars said.
“There is no evidence e-cigarettes are effective in helping people to quit smoking.
“There are a range of safe products people can use to help them quit smoking, including nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers or sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablets,” he said.
“Our smoke-free laws regarding both indoor and outdoor smoking lead the nation,” Mr Sellars said.
“We also run mass media campaigns, a Quitline service and programs for high-risk people.”
“Our anti-smoking programs are reducing Queenslanders’ exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, contributing to a culture that supports smokers trying to quit and discouraging young people from taking up the habit,” he said.
According to Queensland Health, the latest data shows smoking rates among adults have dropped to 15.5 per cent in 2010 from 22.1 per cent in 2001.
The Queensland Government has recently launched the My Smoking campaign that targets Queenslanders aged 18 to 24 years who smoke, and seeks to prompt young people to contemplate their smoking and encourage them to quit.
Further information about the campaign is available at www.mysmoking.qld.gov.au
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