Smoking cessation can be long and difficult process! Many quitting aids have been produced to help people stop smoking and help control cravings, with one of the newer ones being electronic cigarettes. Although they may seem exciting and ‘red hot’, the question remains… are they a safe and effective option?

Electronic cigarettes, or ‘E-cigarettes’ as they are more commonly and informally known, are battery-operated devices designed to simulate cigarettes. They are also referred to as electronic nicotine delivery systems (or ‘ENDS’), e-shisha, e-cigars, e-pipes, e-Hookas, and e-cigs.

How do they work?

E-cigarettes heat liquid (also known as ‘e-liquid’) into an aerosol (which is often referred to as ‘vapour’). This aerosol, which contains nicotine and/or other chemicals, is inhaled by the user into their lungs, and then exhaled (giving the appearance of smoke). They are designed to be used in a similar way to tobacco cigarettes, but WITHOUT the burning of tobacco, the harmful substance found in these cigarettes! E-cigarettes may be shaped to look like cigarettes or other tobacco products, such as cigars or shishas.

Are e-cigarettes legal in South Australia?

The sale, possession and use of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes is currently against the law in Australia.South Australia also specifically prohibits products that are designed to resemble tobacco products from being sold, which means that it is against the law to sell a lot of non-nicotine-containing e-cigarettes as well.

Are e-cigarettes safe?

E-cigarettes are less likely to be harmful than cigarettes. However, the short-term and long-term health effects of using them are currently unknown. Extensive evaluation on the safety and efficacy of these products is required before these types of products are approved, as they involve delivery of chemicals to the lungs. E-cigarettes that are currently on the market in Australia have NOT passed this process, therefore it cannot be guaranteed that they are safe for use.

Are e-cigarettes beneficial in smoking cessation?

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has not approved any e-cigarette products as an aid to help with quitting smoking. There is limited research looking into whether e-cigarettes are as effective as other quitting aids. It is also difficult to investigate them, as the design and ingredients vary from one e-cigarette to another.

However, there are many other quitting aids that have been approved by the TGA. These include patches, gum, lozenges, mouth spray and inhalators, and medications (such as Champix or Zyban). They have been shown to be safe to use, and have also been shown to increase long-term quitting rates.

If you are considering quitting smoking, or would like some more information, please feel free to come in and see one of our friendly GPs! They will be able to provide you with information on and assistance with smoking cessation. You can book an appointment by calling us on 8269 6000.

  • NSW Government: Health 2016, ‘Electronic cigarettes,’ ,

  • Quit Resource Centre 2016, ‘E-cigarettes,’ ,

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