• May 26, 2024

E-cig aid to Smokefree goal

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health believes that electronic cigarettes have the potential to contribute to the country’s Smokefree 2025 goal, according to a position statement published on health.govt.nz.

The potential of e-cigarettes to help improve public health depended on the extent to which they could act as a route out of smoking for New Zealand’s 550,000 daily smokers, without providing a route into smoking for children and non-smokers.

Recent decisions taken by the government had increased the focus on harm reduction and the aim of supporting smokers to switch to significantly less harmful products such as e-cigarettes.

But the ministry encouraged smokers who wanted to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking to seek the support of local stop smoking services. Local stop smoking services provided smokers with the best chance of quitting successfully and should support smokers who wanted to quit with the help of e-cigarettes.

The ministry listed the following key messages:

  • The best thing smokers can do for their health is to quit smoking for good.
  • E-cigarettes are intended for smokers only.
  • The Ministry believes e-cigarettes could disrupt inequities and contribute to Smokefree 2025.
  • The evidence on e-cigarettes indicates they carry much less risk than smoking cigarettes but are not risk free.
  • The Cochrane Review found that e-cigarettes can help people to quit smoking, but acknowledges that the evidence is weak due to little data.
  • Smokers who have tried other methods of quitting without success could be encouraged to try e-cigarettes to stop smoking. Stop smoking services should support smokers using e-cigarettes to quit.
  • There is no international evidence that e-cigarettes are undermining the long-term decline in cigarette smoking among adults and youth, and may in fact be contributing to it.
  • Despite some experimentation with e-cigarettes among never smokers, e-cigarettes are attracting very few people who have never smoked into regular e-cigarette use.
  • When used as intended, e-cigarettes pose no risk of nicotine poisoning to users, but e-liquids should be in child resistant packaging.
  • The Ministry of Health is identifying safety standards for e-cigarettes in New Zealand. In the meantime, vapers should buy their products from a reputable source such as specialist retailers.