Health experts urge caution

E-cigarettes have been touted as a method of stopping smoking. d413782
E-cigarettes have been touted as a method of stopping smoking. d413782

Terry Slevin, Cancer Council Western Australia education and research director: Before this product is introduced or promoted, it is important the Australian public can be confident they do not further contribute to health harms of the smoker or those in the vicinity of users, and that it is proven to be beneficial in assisting smokers to quit.

When a company wishes to introduce a product to the market it is responsible for funding the necessary research to satisfy the authorities of the safety and efficacy.

The Cancer Council is keen to see responsibly conducted high quality objective scientific research to determine the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes.

There remain concerns that tobacco companies may be using e-cigarettes to promote smoking. The priority should remain implementing the measures we know work in reducing smoking and preventing uptake among children.

Mike Daube, Australian Council on Smoking and Health president and Curtin University health policy professor: The vast majority of smokers who quit do so on their own and there are already plenty of cessation products on the market.

We should be cautious about further distractions that allow tobacco companies and their allies into the policy arena, promote smoking behaviours, and the notion that smoking is so hard that cessation products are essential.

The promotion of e-cigarettes overseas is an enormous worry, modelling smoking behaviour and targeting the young and vulnerable. The tobacco industry is in e-cigarettes big time, spending hundreds of millions promoting them.

I do not argue against research on cessation products but the last thing Australia needs is the massive promotion for smoking behaviours that e-cigarettes would bring. We are already well on the way to becoming a smoke-free society.

Dr Richard Choong, AMA (WA) president: E-cigarettes containing nicotine are banned for sale in Australia for good reason ” nicotine is a highly addictive, extremely toxic substance.

I’ve noticed a worrying trend where celebrities are not only smoking e-cigarettes but openly endorsing them to impressionable fans.

Australia is enjoying a decline in smoking rates, and the last thing we want to see is the re-glamorisation of smoking.

It’s not a backyard operation ” it has become a billion dollar industry that’s growing exponentially each year.

Some of the world’s biggest tobacco companies are now entering the fray, and have found the perfect means of promoting smoking behaviour to ex-smokers and teenagers.

Until more data is available on the effectiveness of these products, we encourage people who are trying to quit to stick to safer, alternative nicotine cessation products. People are playing roulette with their health when they buy these products online and due to the lack of research, their safety and effectiveness varies dramatically.