The latest advice for Australian doctors on vaping

Posted by DrMendelsohn on 20 June, 2018

Dr Alex Wodak and I wrote an article for Australian general practitioners on vaping which was published today in the peer-reviewed journal Respiratory MedicineToday. The article can be downloaded here:

pdf_icon_30px.jpg Vaping. 10 frequently asked questions


The key points of the article are:

1. Is vaping effective?

There is growing scientific evidence that vaping helps some people to quit smoking. Personal vaporisers are now the most popular quitting aid in many countries including the UK and US (and Europe).

2. Is vaping safe?

The long-term risk of vaping is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco, according to reviews by the UK Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England

3. What are the long-term risks?

Like all new products, the long-term health effects of vaping are yet to be established. However, based on current knowledge of the ingredients of vapour, long-term use is likely to be much less harmful than smoking.

4. Is nicotine harmful?

Although nicotine is the main chemical that smokers are addicted to, it has relatively minor health effects in the doses used in vaping, except in pregnancy

5. Is second-hand vapour harmful?

There is no evidence that exposure to second-hand vapour is harmful to bystanders

6. What about dual use?

Although some smokers quit very soon after their first experience with a vaporiser, many go through a transition stage of both smoking and vaping (dual use) before finally quitting smoking permanently

7. Is vaping a gateway for young people?

Overseas experience suggests that vaping is replacing, rather than encouraging, smoking of tobacco cigarettes among young people

8. Will vaping 'renormalise' smoking?

There is no evidence that the increased visibility of vaping is causing smoking to become socially acceptable again

9. Is vaping legal in Australia?

Nicotine e-liquid can be used legally to quit or reduce smoking if the user has a nicotine prescription from a registered medical practitioner.

10. More information at ATHRA

The Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA) is a not-for-profit health promotion charity established to improve public health by raising awareness of reduced-risk alternatives to smoking and educating the public and health professionals

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