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Evidence-based policy or risk minimisation? The regulation of e-cigarettes in Australia

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Theoretical discussions of evidence-based policy place primary importance on facts and values. However, there are situations in which policy must be made in the absence of facts and values. In this article, one such situation is investigated: the emergence of electronic cigarettes. This article reviews attempts to regulate e-cigarettes in Australia, a country with a history of international leadership on regulating tobacco cigarettes. The article concludes that Australian governments have not been following an evidence-based approach and, further, it suggests that these governments are instead content to minimise political risk by either taking no action or by adapting existing legislation.
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Keywords: Australia; e-cigarettes; evidence-based policy; research utilisation

Affiliations: Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

Appeared or available online: 21 July 2017

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