How can we use our voice for change?
If you knew an eight-year-old could get a vape easier than buying a burger, how would you feel?
Would you be compelled to take action? The NSW (New South Wales) Government is calling on the public to add their voice to a parliamentary inquiry that will examine the regulation and compliance of e-cigarettes (vapes). The inquiry opened in September as part of the NSW Government’s actions to address and prevent illegal e-cigarette sales.
Shaping and influencing policy and practice
A parliamentary submission gives the public and interested parties a chance to tell the government how an issue affects them. A submission is a letter to the inquiry committee outlining your views or opinions, experiences, and concerns. Submissions demonstrate to the government how an issue is affecting the community, and this process is one of the ways the public can use their voice to influence policy and practice to reduce cancer risks and improve cancer care.
More than facts and evidence
Laura McLauchlan from University of New South Wales says making a submission allows the public to have a chance to influence the committee and make an impact on policy. Your submission can make a difference when the right people hear it, bringing an issue to life beyond the facts by combining the heart and the head, the facts, and the stories to influence decision makers. When inquiry committees hear from the public, community groups, and those with a vested interest, it is possible that these voices can influence the decisions and laws that might be made or changed.
Understand community support
According to Jacqueline Williams with Power to Persuade, parliamentary submissions allow the public to engage with the government beyond elections. For example, adding your voice to the vaping inquiry can help influence policy about the availability of vapes and e-cigarettes for young people. In these instances, your experience and knowledge matters. Adding your voice informs the government about how an issue is affecting people in the community and shows support for or against an issue.
Being part of the conversation
In 2020, the NSW Government established an inquiry to report on health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional, and remote New South Wales. Cancer Council NSW put forward a submission as did many other community organisations, including the Ballina Cancer Advocacy Network (CAN). Maureen, a member of the network, was a strong advocate for Northern NSW and spoke on behalf of the Ballina CAN at the formal proceedings. Her speech addressed the need for more funding for regional health care professionals. Through two local case studies, she highlighted the lack of services and lack of knowledge about these services and how this had adversely impacted the health and well-being of patients. Maureen also highlighted that if these patients had been able to access support services and information, their care outcomes would have been better. Adding their voice to this conversation they were able to highlight the issues and needs of their local community.
Cancer Council NSW’s Generation Vape study found high vaping usage amongst young people in New South Wales. Cancer Council NSW is urging the NSW Government to take strong action and sustained compliance and enforcement against the sale of illegal e-cigarette products with a submission to a government inquiry run by the Committee on Law and Safety into vaping amongst young people. This submission wants to ensure children and young people are protected from nicotine addiction and help support the NSW government’s $6.8 million commitment to prevent vape sales to young people. Acting now will impact the future.
Act now, lodge a submission
Taking action on this important issue can help to prevent further harm to young people. To support submissions, you can find vaping facts on our website.
Submissions close on November 5, 2023.
- Generation Vape | Cancer Council NSW
- Take action on vaping – CanAct | Cancer Council NSW
- E-cigarettes | Cancer Council NSW
- 2023-09-06 Law and Safety – Media release – Vaping.pdf (nsw.gov.au)
- NSW government allocates $6.8m to combat illegal vape sales and youth addiction – ABC News
- Crackdown on illegal vape sellers in NSW | NSW Government
- E-cigarette regulation and compliance in New South Wales (nsw.gov.au)
- Making a submission – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)
- Making submissions to government inquiries FINAL (unsw.edu.au)
- Getting involved in Parliament – Parliamentary Education Office (peo.gov.au)
- Committees – Parliamentary Education Office (peo.gov.au)
- How effective are NFP submissions to Parliamentary inquiries? — Power to Persuade
- Photo by Hussein Abdullah on Unsplash