Dawson MP George Christensen with Vape Shack Mackay owner Amber James
Dawson MP George Christensen with Vape Shack Mackay owner Amber James

Christensen supports vaping with new petition

DAWSON MP George Christensen has launched a petition slamming the Federal Government's sudden enforcement of laws to stop the importation of liquid nicotine for vaping.

The petition has already garnered 55,000 signatures in just over 24 hours.

It comes in response to Health Minister Greg Hunt's unilateral decision to ban the personal importation of liquid nicotine for vaping from July 1.

Mr Hunt launched an independent review into the health impacts of nicotine e-cigarettes in September 2018.

Under the incoming laws, vaping imports would be banned for 12 months for those without a doctor's prescription.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration will conduct consultation about how best to regulate vaporiser nicotine products, including nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, during that 12 month period.

More stories:

Staggering crisis at Mackay Hospital revealed

'Take the health crisis in the bush seriously'

'It's gone on long enough': Health crisis hits home

Vape Shack Mackay owner Amber James said vaping was an aid for people who wanted to quit smoking.

She said the ban could prompt people to revert back to traditional cigarette smoking.

"The store would probably see a drop in revenue too," Ms James said.

"But my main concern is the health of the community."

Mr Christensen and Senator Matt Canavan have rallied support from other members of the government who rejected the "heavy-handed treatment of vapers".

The Dawson MP said a ban would likely to result in a return to cigarettes and an increase in black market activity.

"The end result of this crackdown which looks to impose fines of up to $220,000, is that more people will go back to cigarettes and hence we have worse health outcomes," he said.

Mr Hunt has defended his decision, telling 2GB that "vaping is not a safe product".

Subscriber benefits:

How to make the most of your digital subscription

Daily puzzles and Sudoku another reason to stay subscribed

He argued there was evidence to suggest vaping was a gateway to smoking rather than a treatment.

"What we're seeing … in the US is a 78 per cent increase in the number of high school children who are vaping," Mr Hunt said.