Ampol, a major Australian convenience store retailer, says it wants to train employees to suggest e-cigarettes as an alternative to combustible cigarettes in a bid to help reduce the smoking rate.
Ampol, the parent Caltex and Foodary outlets across the country, urged the government to allow nicotine-based vaping products to be sold in the same way as cigarettes in its submission to a Senate inquiry, according to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Ampol’s head of government affairs, Todd Loydell, wrote that the company was well positioned to help cigarette smokers transition to “less harmful products” and was willing to trial selling e-cigarette products through its large network of convenience stores. “For example, our retail staff could provide a verbal cue to customers who ask to purchase cigarettes, encouraging them to consider the alternative options available to them in store,” he wrote.
Australia’s Senate select committee on tobacco harm reduction will hold its first public hearing today into nicotine vaping products, which currently can be legally purchased only with a doctor’s prescription.
Committee chair Hollie Hughes said the more than 8000 submissions had been overwhelmingly supportive of vaping and “overwhelmingly not in favor of a script model”.
“I would like to see recommendations around very serious regulation,” she said. “I don’t think anyone is going to be a non-smoker and take it up. I think it’s an incredibly powerful cessation tool and part of [the] discussion of further reducing smoking rates in Australia.”
The National Retailers Association, which represents 28,000 retailers across the country, also advocated for a consumer model for vaping regulation.
This is the second recent inquiry into tobacco harm reduction and nicotine vaping. After a year-long inquiry, the standing committee on health, aged care and sport recommended in 2018 that the TGA should continue to have oversight of nicotine products.