No evidence e-cigarettes are safe

6 February 2014

Cancer Council Tasmania has supported calls by health authorities for Tasmanians to be aware that some e-cigarettes may contain life-threatening doses of nicotine.

CCT CEO, Penny Egan, said there was no evidence that e-cigarettes were safer than normal cigarettes, despite marketing claims that they are less harmful.

She said Quit Tasmania agreed with health authorities that Tasmanians needed to be aware that some e-cigarettes may contain life-threatening doses of nicotine if ingested.

Director of Cancer Control and Quit services, Dr Kathryn Terry, said there was no evidence that e-cigarettes were effective in helping people to quit or that they were safer than normal cigarettes, despite marketing claims by their manufacturers.

“No e-cigarette product has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Act 1989 as a safe and effective product to assist smokers to quit,” Dr Terry said.

“Yet many of the companies who are marketing these products are claiming that they are a quit smoking aid.

“At present, there is a lack of evidence to show they can help people quit smoking.

“When a person who smokes is ready to quit, they should seek professional advice from a reputable source regarding TGA approved medications that are proven to be safe and effective.

“This could be from their doctor, a pharmacist or other health professional. The Quitline can also answer many questions that a person may have about quitting by simply calling 13 QUIT (13 7848).

“As we do not yet know what the short and long term health implications might be from using e-cigarettes, Quit strongly advises people not to use them

“More research is urgently needed on e-cigarettes because of the paucity of reliable data to inform the debate.

“In Tasmania, anecdotally we know that there has been a dramatic rise in the marketing, availability and use of e-cigarettes, although the exact number of users is not known.”

Mrs Egan supported the announcement by the Director of Public Health, Dr Roscoe Taylor, yesterday warning retailers and consumers of e-cigarettes containing nicotine.

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