Tasmania suffers the highest smoking rates in Australia - well above the national average by nearly 3 percentage points.
We host the suburbs with the highest national smoking rates as well.
Suburbs where the population can least afford to smoke.
Our smoking rates in Tasmania have remained stagnant for the past decade.
Now most of us accept that smoking is a costly and health impairing activity.
In an ideal world no-one would smoke.
Its impact on individuals and the health budget is there for all to witness.
Governments of all persuasions have tried education, product warning labels, plain packaging, higher taxes, the banning of advertising - with the good intention of at least reducing levels of smoking.
In short, these measures have failed - some with perverse consequences.
For example, higher taxes has seen the growth of the black market in illegal tobacco.
People allegedly enjoy smoking for the nicotine hit beside the mistaken belief of a perceived sophistication or social acceptance.
No matter what one's reason, the inhaling of tobacco smoke is detrimental because of tars, additives and smoke beside the nicotine which is inhaled.
Health advice suggests the nicotine which provides the double edged hit and craving is in fact the least injurious aspect.
So, into this space comes the innovative idea of e-cigarettes or vaping which allows people to satisfy their nicotine craving without the tar, additives and smoke.
Surely a good thing. Yet it remains illegal to sell these products.
E-cigarettes are cigarette shaped electronic mechanisms that allow the inhaling of nicotine through metered doses.
Given we don't live in a perfect world which would see neither smoking nor vaping it makes good sense to seek to wean smokers on to vaping.
Many smokers tell me they would switch if given the opportunity. Research tells us that those who have switched to vaping have their nicotine craving satisfied whilst reporting improvements in their general health.
The European research in particular bears this out. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is cautiously finding its way in acknowledging the lesser of two evils.
Suggestions that vaping is injurious to health of course is not questioned, but as a substitute for smoking it is preferable, something recognised in many other countries.
Most health experts analysing e-cigarettes are of the view that they are 95 per cent less harmful than inhaling tobacco smoke.
UK officials believe the e-cigarette has assisted thousands of people to quit the smoking habit altogether.
Fear that e-cigarettes may encourage young people to smoke has not been borne out by the European experience which suggests it is not "cool" to smoke them and serves as a reminder to young people of the difficulty of giving up the habit.
Reluctance to introduce another smoking type product to the market is understood.
But such reluctance needs to assess whether the new product is as bad as or worse than the current product. If so, it would be wise to seek to restrict it.
But when the product is so overwhelmingly better it is difficult to understand the current rationale.
It's a bit like refusing to legislate low-alcohol beer because we don't like the impact of alcohol in society.
Most of us accept that no matter what your view on alcohol, low-alcohol beer is preferable to full strength. So it is and should be with e-cigarettes.
The random airing of the issue with constituents suggests it is not a front of mind issue but once engaged they see the sense in the legalisation of e-cigarettes or vaping.
In case readers wonder why vaping of all issues is one for me to write about?
The privilege of Parliamentary representation sees the full range of issues come across your desk and yes, this issue is just one of them.
But it's one which is worthy of pursuit to assist individual health and the health budget. An individual private good and a social public good wrapped in one. The time for legalising e-cigarettes or vaping has come.
- Eric Abetz is a Tasmania Senator.