SAME STORY: NSW Labor believes e-cigarettes should have the exact restrictions as those on tobacco products.
SAME STORY: NSW Labor believes e-cigarettes should have the exact restrictions as those on tobacco products. Contributed

Plea to treat e-cigarettes the same as regular smoking

SHADOW NSW Health Minister Walt Secord has called on the government to adopt Labor's policy to bring e-cigarettes and vaping in line with smoking laws.

News Limited reported Health Minister Brad Hazzard was taking a plan to cabinet to restrict the use of e-cigarettes which mirrors the Smoke-free Environment Amendment (E-cigarettes) Bill 2017 introduced by Mr Secord into the Legislative Council last November.

Both followed calls by professional bodies and health organisations including the Heart Foundation, Cancer Council NSW, AMA NSW, Asthma Australia and the Australian Dental Association to ban the use of e-cigarettes in smoke-free areas.

In May 2015, NSW passed laws to restrict e-cigarettes in relation to minors while it is also an offence to vape in a car carrying a child, an offence carrying an on-the-spot fine of $250.

At the moment vaping is banned on plane flights but it is permissible in schools, offices, cafes, shopping centres, restaurants, swimming pools, sporting events and on public transport in NSW.

The Labor legislation would bring NSW into line with Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT which treat e-cigarettes as similar to cigarettes.

The proposed legislation will carry penalties of up to $550.

Mr Secord said he hoped the Berejiklian Government would adopt the legislation as it had broad community support and plugged a loophole in the current laws.

"Rather than re-inventing the wheel, the Berejiklian Government should just adopt Labor's bill and take it forward in a bipartisan manner,” he said.

"We have a ludicrous situation where you can legally use an e-cigarette inside a hospital, shopping centre or almost all enclosed spaces.

"The same rules applying to cigarettes should apply to e-cigarettes.

"It just makes sense.

"While there is still debate on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes and whether they are a gateway to smoking or they move people away from smoking, they should at least have the same restrictions as cigarettes.

"Especially in regard to smoke free areas.”