Conference to discuss e-cigarettes
Are e-cigarettes a good tool to stub out smoking, or a threat to the smokefree vision?
Users of e-cigarettes, or vapers as they are commonly known, will gather alongside researchers, healthcare providers and regulators at a symposium debating the merits and drawbacks of the devices next week.
E-cigarettes have increased in popularity in recent years. They are available in New Zealand, but are not recommended by the Ministry of Health.
Unlike chewing gum and patches, e-cigarettes mimic the experience of cigarette smoking, providing smokers with a nicotine hit without exposing them or others to tobacco smoke.
New Zealand users can now buy flavoured liquids for their e-cigarettes containing no nicotine.
Retailers are no longer allowed to supply the nicotine-based liquid, but users can import it from overseas for personal use.
Jemimah Peacocke has been using e-cigarettes for the past five months as a means of quitting traditional cigarettes.
‘‘I started smoking when I was 13 and I’ve only just really given up.
‘‘I’ve tried quitting before and – nothing.
‘‘My e-cigarette is the only thing that has managed to help me quit smoking.’’
The 22-year-old works at Karangahape Rd store Cosmic and says the majority of her customers who buy e-cigarettes say they are attempting to stub out their tobacco habit.
‘‘I’ve had maybe only a few people get them that don’t smoke and even then they just get it because they like shisha and it’s a similar feeling,’’ she says.
Peacocke says she has sold e-cigarette products to people ranging from their early 20s to late 60s.
The symposium’s keyspeaker Professor Wayne Hall, will argue that regulators don’t have to choose between banning e-cigarettes and allowing their unregulated sale and promotion.
Hall says a common misconception increasingly accepted by tobacco smokers, is that there is no difference in the health risks between conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
‘‘This view has been encouraged by misleading comments from some public health leaders in the United States and the UK,’’ he says.
Nicotine-containing e-cigarettes were found to help smokers kick the habit in University of Auckland research published in December.
About 9 per cent of smokers who used e-cigarettes containing nicotine, had gone smoke-free for a year.
The figure for nicotine-free e-cigarettes was 4 per cent.
Researchers say the results need to be backed up by more studies.
Quitline’s Bruce Bassett says the charitable trust’s clients are using e-cigarettes as a cessation tool.
‘‘People trying to quit smoking are interested in all the methods available to help them to quit, and e-cigarettes are very much on their radar,’’ he says.
But some feel that not enough is known about the health effects of the tobacco alternative and have concerns that it could act as a ‘‘gateway drug’’ for traditional cigarettes.
University of Otago marketing professor Janet Hoek will attend the event to discuss youth uptake, secondhand exposure, denormalisation and the dual-use of both traditional and electronic cigarettes.
The symposium will be held on March 12 from 8.30am till 4.30pm at the University of Auckland, Owen G. Glenn Business School, Room 310. It is free to attend, but registration is required due to limited seating. Email email@example.com for more information.
Jemimah Peacocke uses e-cigarettes to help her give up traditional cigarettes.
No smoke: E-cigarettes mimic the experience of cigarette smoking and produce a smoke-like vapour when used.