David Leyonhjelm is Liberal Democrats senator for NSW and has written an opinion piece about the dangers and stupidity of the nanny state in the Sydney Morning Herald:
The day before my motion to establish an inquiry into the nanny state passed the Senate, the NSW Parliament enacted legislation that means e-cigarettes will be treated in the same way as tobacco products. The new laws not only restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but prevent them being advertised and displayed.
It is already illegal to sell e-liquids containing nicotine in Australia, despite nicotine being safe enough to use in patches and gums – standard quitting aids that, incidentally, are heavily advertised. The new laws will send vaping shops broke, while smokers will lose access to probably the most effective quitting aid of all.
All this reinforced the need for an inquiry.
Public health policy is now way beyond its original remit and has become a form of puritanism. Much of the opposition to e-cigarettes arises from the fact that they are pleasant to use. Like the puritans of yore, public health mandarins are haunted by the thought that someone, somewhere, is having a good time.
During debate around the e-cigarette legislation, it was salutary to note how public health on the left joined hands with prohibition on the right, exemplified by extensive co-operation and much mutual back-scratching between Jeremy Buckingham of the Greens and Fred Nile of the Christian Democrats.
The Senate inquiry I’ll be chairing – to give it its full name, “into measures introduced to restrict personal choice ‘for the individual’s own good’ ” – is not just concerned with e-cigarettes or tobacco.
I want to engage in a serious and thoughtful examination of lockout laws and other restrictions on the service of alcohol, the cost of prosecuting recreational cannabis users, the effect mandatory helmet law has on cycling and the often demented arguments surrounding video game classification.