Vaping, or using a vaporizer to inhale nicotine, is currently illegal in all Australia states and territories.
Legalise Vaping’s Brian Marlow and Kyle Williams were in Bega on Thursday to collect signatures ahead of an event at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday.
In Western Australia vaporizing nicotine can land you a $45,000 fine, and in Tasmania up to two years prison.
While in Bega the pair were approached by one 50-year-old “vaper” who said it had helped him move away from a cigarette addiction he has had since his early teens.
“It relieves the craving, which is so hard,” the man who wanted to remain anonymous for legal reasons said.
“It’s just so easy.”
The devices heat a liquid nicotine juice into an aerosol, which has been classed a poison by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Mr Marlow said evidence in Europe and America has shown the devices do not attract new smokers, and the practice is “95 per cent safer than cigarettes”.
Every user I’ve spoken to says they would never go back on cigarettes.Legalise Vaping campaign manager Brian Marlow
“The issue is people confuse nicotine and tobacco,” he said.
“With vaping you don’t have the second hand smoke issues you have with tobacco.”
Mr Marlow said a recent report by government-backed authority Public Health England found vaping could be helping at least 20,000 English smokers a year to quit tobacco.
“The overwhelming evidence shows people are moving away from smoking,” he said.
“Every user I’ve spoken to says they would never go back on cigarettes.
“We don’t understand why the law is the way it is today in Australia.”
He said under federal law, Australians could purchase the devices legally from overseas and three months worth of nicotine, which has lead to “no minimum safety standards”.
“We want the state and federal levels to work together to try and work out a way it can work and stop people smoking,” he said.