Con­fer­ence to dis­cuss e-cig­a­rettes

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

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 eventsad­min@auck­land.ac.nz for more in­for­ma­tion.

Photo: JESS LEE

Quit­ting tool:

Jemimah Pea­cocke uses e-cig­a­rettes to help her give up tra­di­tional cig­a­rettes.

Photo: REUTERS

No smoke: E-cig­a­rettes mimic the ex­pe­ri­ence of cig­a­rette smok­ing and pro­duce a smoke-like vapour when used.

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