E-cigarettes and vaporisers not without risk - Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The Asthma Foundation says unregulated e-cigarettes to reduce tobacco smoking is akin to introducing stoats to control rabbits. It follows the government's move to take a "less than harmful" stance to e-cigarettes and nicotine delivery products.

After smoking cigarettes for 16 years, Peter Koti says using a vaporizer helped him kick the habit.

He says, "It was hard to quit after so many years of the habit but with the help of vaping I've been able to get off it and happily I know I'll never go back to it."

Koti, who has a history of asthma, has now been cigarette-free for over a year and says his condition has improved as a result.  "It has helped, I've noticed I've never had to reach for the pump again since I started vaping so yeah it's definitely been beneficial."

The Ministry of Health states that recent decisions taken by the government have increased the focus on harm reduction, with an aim to support smokers to switch to significantly less harmful products like e-cigarettes.

ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia O'Dwyer says, "We recognise that for some individuals who struggle to give up using current smoking cessation aids, the use of e-cigarettes may be beneficial, but we need to make sure that we're targeting that group. We urge real caution with respect to e-cigarettes."

O'Dwyer says there is no good evidence demonstrating that using e-cigarettes will reduce the incidence of smoking normal tobacco cigarettes.  "The last thing we want to happen is for our young generation of New Zealanders to pick up e-cigarettes."

The Ministry of Health is identifying safety standards for e-cigarettes in New Zealand.