More than half of Australian adults believe the issue of legalising e-cigarettes to improve public health is important enough to influence how they will vote.
New research from the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) shows that 54 percent say the legalisation of e-cigarettes is a potential vote-influencing or even vote-changing issue.
A total of 4,000 Australians aged 18 years and over were surveyed by independent research company The Sexton Marketing Group, with a mix of non-smokers, current and ex-smokers involved, including people from smoking and non-smoking households.
A broad cross section from around the country, but they all had one thing in common, says AACS: they all vote.
“Nothing piques a politician’s interest more than votes. This research covers a sample size around three times as large as typical news poll and everyone involved is on the electoral roll,” AACS CEO Jeff Rogut said.
“Given the results clearly demonstrate overwhelming community support for the legalisation of e-cigarettes, with very little opposition, there’s nothing preventing this issue being moved to the top of the policy agenda.
“In fact, the results are so strongly in favour of legalising e-cigarettes that Federal and State Governments and Oppositions could reach a bipartisan agreement immediately, safe in the knowledge that the vast majority of voters would welcome the move.
“Doing so would garner significant support from the electorate. Not doing so could be politically damaging for politicians and parties that continue to sit on their hands,” he said.
Obviously at the centre of a move to legalise e-cigarettes is the need to ensure they are sold responsibly, says the AACS. There is a small but growing black market for illicit e-cigarette products, emphasising the urgent need to develop a proper legal framework.
“Convenience stores are proven responsible retailers of restricted products like lottery tickets and conventional tobacco. With a grounding in proper training and compliance, our operators are ideally placed to responsibly sell e-cigarettes and provide adult consumers a healthier, safer choice,” Mr Rogut said.
click here for more details of the AACS survey