The ongoing debate circling the proposed Tobacco Control Act has me deeply concerned.
Particularly, the idea to separate the generational end game (GEG) from the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, essentially legalising vaping, has not only triggered discussions about democratic integrity, but has thrown the critical aspect of public health into the limelight — a factor that should unquestionably guide such legislative decisions, especially within the realm of tobacco regulation.
The tobacco control bill (both the 2022 and 2023 versions) underwent meticulous evaluation not by one, but three parliamentary special select committees. It was rigorously scrutinised and even earned the nod from the previous Attorney-General’s Chambers, affirming its compliance with constitutional standards.
But now, there’s a looming question about potentially dismissing the conclusions drawn from these exhaustive evaluations.
What bothers me most in this entire discourse is the impact on the health of our nation. The intention of the bill to protect the current generation by exploring alternative, potentially less harmful options like vaping is commendable.
However, throwing aside well-considered conclusions risks jeopardising public health initiatives embedded within the legislation, which could result in policies that inadequately protect our welfare.
The disparity between the government’s claim of being committed to institutional reform and their actions that seemingly overlook fundamental democratic principles raises grave concerns, especially regarding public health.
It’s disheartening when decisions appear predetermined, as it seems like they prioritise political expediency over our nation’s well-being.
For me, democracy isn’t just about following procedures — it’s about doing what’s right for the people. When it comes to health-related legislation, it’s crucial to base decisions on comprehensive analysis and expert recommendations, not on preconceived notions.
In the end, the link between democracy and public health is inseparable. A truly democratic society should genuinely care about the health of its citizens, making decisions based on evidence and the welfare of everyone.
Upholding these principles not only strengthens democracy, but also ensures the nation’s well-being through thoughtful and informed health policies.
CodeBlue is providing anonymity to the author because civil servants are prohibited from writing to the press.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.