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Question: What are your hopes and wishes for THR in Australia in 2024?
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Carolyn Beaumont: What I'm hoping for? I've been asked what are my hopes in Christmas for the year ahead? I have a long wish list for Santa. What I most wish for is for the Australian ban on disposable vapes scheduled to occur on New Year's Day to be stopped. I wish for the planned ban on all personal importation of any vapes scheduled for March to be stopped. I wish for the medical and media narrative about vaping being an on-ramp to smoking to be stopped. I wish for the Australian prescription model of vaping to stop and for the barriers to accessing a doctor to be truly understood and acknowledged. I wish for the health benefits of switching to vaping to become the mainstream media narrative. I wish that I didn't have to explain the concept of tobacco harm reduction to everyone I speak to. I wish that THR was a normalised and understood concept and that the health benefits to adults is an urgent issue that should be dominating the headlines. I wish to never again hear about unicorns, bubblegum flavours and USB sticks, as though that is the sole representation of disposable vapes. I wish for the beneficial aspects of nicotine to become a mainstream area of research, rather than it being referred to as a poison. Finally, I wish for a magical Santa who can make this all happen.
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Question: What do you predict will happen in Australia in 2024?
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Carolyn Beaumont: What do I think will happen? I think that in Australia in 2024, that the government will congratulate themselves on their tough approach to banning disposables and stopping personal importation. They will cite reduced teenage uptake of vaping and claim victory in preventing an entire generation from becoming hooked on nicotine. Whereas in reality, I think what we will see is less obvious teenage vaping and more hidden vaping of the same black market products. I think that it will take at least a year before the failure of the Australian prescription model becomes truly apparent as adult smoking rates gradually start to increase. I think that the use of incorrect language around vaping will continue and that the myth of therapeutic versus recreational vaping will become far too established. Instead of realising that therapy for smoking cessation and recreational enjoyment of vaping are complementary and not at odds with each other. I think that even if more doctors are willing to prescribe vapes in Australia, that they will be under the false illusion that therapeutic use means that one should magically be able to cease vaping in six months and then stay smoke-free forever. But I must end on a bright note. So I look forward to seeing many of you again in 2024 and hopefully bringing some good news from Australia rather than just apologies. Merry Christmas to all!