The evidence doesn't stack up for e-cigarettes

Wednesday, 05 April, 2017

The evidence doesn't stack up for e-cigarettes

The latest evidence for the safety, quality and efficacy of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has been released by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The statement concludes that “there is currently insufficient evidence to support claims that e-cigarettes are safe, and further research is required to enable the long-term safety, quality and efficacy of e‑cigarettes to be assessed”.

There is a lack of evidence to support claims that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes.

While e-cigarettes may expose users to fewer toxic chemicals than conventional tobacco cigarettes, the extent to which this reduces harm to the user has not been determined. There is also some evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes could act as a gateway to tobacco cigarettes for non-smokers.

Professor Anne Kelso AO, CEO of the NHMRC, said, “Until evidence of safety, quality and efficacy can be produced, health authorities and policymakers should continue to act to minimise harm to users and bystanders. This particularly applies to young people.”

NHMRC, as Australia’s leading body for supporting health and medical research, has provided close to $6.5 million for research into e-cigarettes since 2011. Outcomes from this research should be progressively available from June 2018.

Consumers are advised to seek further information about e-cigarettes from reliable sources, such as their state or territory health department or local quit smoking service.

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