We all know the dangers of smoking. It has been unequivocally proven that cigarettes and cigarette smoke are a direct path to lung cancer and many other diseases.
The latest scientific review of vaping nicotine has concluded it is an effective quitting aid for smokers and could help to substantially reduce smoking rates in Australia.
The peer-reviewed study by Australian academics Conjoint Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn, Professor Wayne Hall and Professor Ron Borland was published in Drug and Alcohol Review today. It is the first analysis to specifically assess the potential for vaping to reduce smoking rates in Australia.
‘The study found that vaping is more effective than other quitting aids and is the most popular quitting method in most countries where it is available. However, vaping is effectively banned in Australia and vaping rates are currently very low,’ Dr Mendelsohn said.
‘Easier and legal access to vaping would allow many adults smokers to switch to vaping and would help reduce the annual toll of 21,000 Australian deaths from smoking each year.
‘In countries where it is available, such as the USA and the UK, nicotine vaping has accelerated the decline in national smoking rates,’ Dr Mendelsohn said.
‘This contrasts with Australia with restrictive vaping policies where the smoking rate has remained largely unchanged for the past six years.
‘One barrier to the wider introduction of vaping have been a lack of evidence so far that it is an effective quitting method. This comprehensive analysis of the latest evidence shows that vaping works and could play a valuable role in reducing Australia’s stalled smoking rate.
‘This review coincides with the release of the smoking cessation guidelines this week by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners which supports vaping nicotine for smokers who are otherwise unable to quit.
‘Regulators need to review the latest evidence from this study and the RACGP guidelines and bring Australia’s vaping policy into line with the evidence and policies of other western countries.
‘Australia remains the only western democracy where it is illegal to sell and use nicotine for vaping. A balanced approach to regulation would allow access to vaping products for adult smokers who are unable to quit while restricting access to non-smokers and young people.
‘The stagnation of smoking rates in Australia means that we need innovative and effective quitting aids in addition to our traditional tobacco control strategies. This study shows that making vaping more easily available will improve public health and will save lives.’