Q: How safe are e-cigarettes and how effective are they for people trying to quit smoking?
A: Oliver Knight-West, a research fellow at the National Institute for Health Innovation, University of Auckland, says:
There is established evidence that e-cigarettes are much safer than tobacco smoking. It also tells us that current e-cigarettes are exposing vapers – e-cigarette smokers – to even fewer toxins compared to earlier products which are no longer available to buy, and that the levels of toxins are generally lower than the upper limits deemed safe for human exposure.
Of course we cannot be certain that e-cigarettes are completely safe and that long-term vaping is risk-free, but we can be confident that if any negative health effects are detected, they will be very small compared to the proven dangers of tobacco smoking.
Public Health England estimated they are 95% safer than tobacco. So that is not 100% safe, but still exponentially safer.
While we desperately need these studies too, it is puzzling that the current regulatory framework around e-cigarettes in New Zealand does not take heed of the data we already have and allow the legal sale of e-cigarettes with nicotine.
At the moment, highly toxic tobacco is given preferential treatment as a way for people to use nicotine.
With the right framework, e-cigarettes with nicotine could be just the breakthrough to help hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders become smoke-free and live healthier, longer lives.
It is pretty insane the more dangerous product can be sold in any retail outlet while the far safer product is illegal to sell!