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Warning: e-cigarettes are poison

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Queensland Health is warning Queenslanders not to buy e-cigarettes containing liquid nicotine, following the seizure of more than 70 consignments imported into the country.

Health Protection Directorate Executive Director Sophie Dwyer 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,” she said.

“They contain vials of liquid nicotine, which is a very dangerous poison,” she said.

In the past month, the Brisbane North Public Health Unit has seized and destroyed about 70 consignments at Brisbane Airport’s postal screening service. The shipments were destined for locations across Brisbane and regional areas including Cairns, Gold Coast, Darling Downs, Logan, Mackay, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Townsville and Wide Bay.

“It is classed as a Schedule 7 dangerous poison under the Australian Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons,” Ms Dwyer said.

“If used inappropriately – or if children get hold of the liquid nicotine – the consequences can be fatal,” she said.

The World Health Organisation’s International Program on Chemical Safety advises that 10 mg 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,” Ms Dwyer 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,” she said.

Queensland Health is committed to making Queenslanders Australia’s healthiest people and has set bold targets to cut smoking by one third.

“Our smoke-free laws regarding both indoor and outdoor smoking lead the nation,” Ms Dwyer 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,” she said.

The latest data shows smoking rates among adults have dropped to 15.5% 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.

(Source: Queensland Government Department of Health)

More information

Smoking For more information on smoking, its health effects and how to quit smoking, as well as some useful tools, videos and animations, see Smoking.


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Posted On: 9 May, 2011
Modified On: 15 January, 2014


Created by: myVMC