UNE research clearing the air on E-cigarettes

Published 03 June 2014

They might be the latest thing to help smokers quit the habit, but governments have not yet worked out how they can tax e-cigarettes and some are even considering banning them.

The University of New England is attempting to see through the smoke of confusion around electronic cigarettes and produce evidence about just how effective or not, this latest anti-smoking aid really is.

UNE Associate Professor of Psychology, Dr John Malouff and Psychology honours researcher Kynan Gooding are looking for smokers to take part in a study looking at the effect of information about e-cigarettes on a smoker’s struggle for a healthier lifestyle.

Dr Malouff says that the theory behind the e-cigarette is intriguing, not only offering nicotine replacement, but also meeting addicted smokers physical habits.

“The e-cig provides the quitting smoker with the tactile activities which are such a strong part of the habit,” Dr Malouf says.

“This means that they can still hold the e-cig, draw on it, and they can even take the ‘time-out’ or ‘smoko’ which for some smokers becomes a big part of their daily work routine.”

“At the same time, they’re getting the same nicotine replacement therapy that many patches or chewing gums provide, without all the other harmful substances contained in the smoke from the traditional cigarette’s combustion.”

“In the very immediate sense, the e-cigarette is about harm minimisation – you’re still smoking, but you’re taking all those poisonous tars out of the equation. Then, as you feel stronger you can reduce the nicotine intake and regularity of your e-cig habit.”

It all sounds fairly simple, but e-cigs are not so easy to get a hold of in Australia.

“The e-cigarette is still too new, and governments haven’t quite come to grips with how the import and distribution of the e-cig is managed,” Dr Malouff said.

“While the e-cigarette is available in some stores with flavoured vapours – called vapour inhalers – the nicotine replacement cartridges are only available online, through international distributors.”

“It is perfectly legal for Australians to purchase these for personal use and more and more people are, but the whole situation can be fairly confusing.

“Our study aims to provide smokers with information about why e-cigs are worth trying and how to use them. Using e-cigs is easier with the written and video guidance we provide. Participants in the study will complete simple online questionnaires relating to the effects of the information.”

Any adult can participate in the study by visiting http://tinyurl.com/uneecigstudy..

For more information or to arrange an interview with the researchers,
please contact UNE News & Media on 02 6773 2551

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