The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ commends the Ministry of Health on the creation of their ‘Vaping Facts’ website, but maintains that this is still the beginning of a long process.
ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia O’Dwyer says that the Foundation fully supports the development of new methods of smoking cessation for those struggling to quit, but that vaping alone won’t help most people to give up smoking.
“It is important to note that there no easy answers when it comes to quitting smoking,” says O’Dwyer. “We, along with the European Respiratory Society, the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, the American Lung Association, and many other medical societies, recommend that robustly tested, scientifically proven therapies be tried first, in conjunction with wrap-around-services and support.”
ARFNZ Medical Director Dr Stuart Jones agrees on the importance of increasing resources and accessibility, but cautions that research has shown clear effects of vaping which are understated on the Vaping Facts site.
“To say that there is no evidence that vaping is harmful to human health is misleading. There are multiple studies, including the recent NASM report, indicating that not only is vaping ineffective as a sole cessation method, but could have serious health effects in the long-term. A UK report published at the end of last year showed that widespread access and availability of e-cigarettes in the UK has had no significant impact on their smoking rates over the last decade.
“If we are going to use vaping, we need to use it in a smarter way, as part of a smoking cessation program, and push for more funding of culturally appropriate and accessible programs. Studies in nicotine replacement therapy show that widespread access without wrap-around smoking cessation counselling actually leads to reduced rates of quitting. The only study that has shown some benefit from e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool used it as part of an intensive support program.
“We note that these risks are stated on the Vaping Facts website, but would suggest that the website also update to reflect that there is some evidence that vaping can be a gateway to smoking in youth, which has been clearly demonstrated in overseas experience.”
O’Dwyer reiterates that improved respiratory health is the common goal of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation and the team behind the Vaping Facts website.
”The position of the Foundation is that nothing but clean air should enter the lungs, unless there is a clear and proven benefit to respiratory health,” says O’Dwyer. “The research simply doesn’t support that this is the case with vaping; it’s not a magic bullet.
“We’re in the business of healthy lungs; not just for this generation, but for all generations to come.”
Ko te aronga nui ō te Hā Ora kia ora rawa atu ngā pukapuka ō tēnei reanga me ngā reanga kei te heke mai.