Health & Studies

Study Oz Success

With Australia in the grip of an American-style hysterical approach to tobacco harm reduction, new research shows that vaping helps Australian smokers quit and remain smoke-free

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Australia is in the grip of an American-style hysterical approach to tobacco harm reduction. Not a week goes by without a self-proclaimed public health “expert” denouncing e-cigs. Against this backdrop, a new study looked at how vaping is working on the ground and discovered that electronic cigarettes help Australian smokers to quit smoking and remain smoke-free.

Dr Mark Chambers works at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. This study (linked below) is his first foray into the world of tobacco harm reduction research.

Dr Chambers writes: “Previous analyses of the effect of e-cigarettes on real world smoking cessation success have mostly been based on surveys undertaken in the US and UK where nicotine e-cigarettes can be readily obtained. In Australia, regulations have made obtaining e-cigarettes containing nicotine difficult. The effectiveness of e-cigarette use as a smoking cessation aid in Australia might therefore be lower than survey-based estimates published to date. This study aimed to estimate the effect of using e-cigarettes for a smoking cessation attempt on past-year smoking cessation success in Australia.”

Using data from the 2019 wave of Australia’s National Drug Strategy Household Survey, Dr Chambers discovered that “Australians that attempted to quit smoking using e-cigarettes achieved greater success than smokers attempting to quit without e-cigarettes”.

He concluded: “Use of e-cigarettes for a smoking cessation attempt appears to be associated with greater success among Australians who attempted to quit tobacco in 2019 compared with Australians attempting to quit without e-cigarettes, after adjusting for confounding effects.”

Harm reduction expert Dr Colin Mendelsohn praised “the first Australian real-world study of vaping nicotine”.

He added: “The findings are consistent with population studies in other countries such as the United States and England which also found that smokers who vape are more likely to quit than those who don't.”

Dr Mendelsohn pointed out that there is a potential for even greater results as quitters have to fight against the negative messaging resulting from Australia’s strict regulatory approach.

Quit rates are likely to be higher in a more supportive environment.”

Dr Mendelsohn concluded: “Key reviews published in the last few years here and here have found that the evidence for vaping as a quitting aid has strengthened and is further boosted by this study.

“Vaping is also the most popular quitting aid and can reach more smokers. It could have a substantial impact on public health, especially for the more disadvantaged groups with the highest smoking rates. These benefits should be considered when reviewing Australia’s current policy on vaping.”


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Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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