A study out of Australia seems to support lighter legislation on vaping to help boost smoking cessation efforts.
If you look around the world, it won’t take long to find several vastly different ways legislators are choosing to handle the advent of vaping. Countries like the UK are doing everything they can to implement these new tools into their existing programs, leading to their lowest smoking rates ever recorded. However, more countries have erred on the side of caution and taken a skeptical stance. In fact, in some countries such as Australia, vaping has long been treated as a significant problem which needs to be harshly regulated. This harsh stance is starting to show signs of cracking, giving Aussie vapers serious hope. The move comes after neighboring New Zealand also loosened their vaping regulations to fantastic results, even speeding up their smoke-free goal date to 2025.
One of the more interesting pieces of evidence was recently published and released to the public. Researchers took an in-depth look at the vaping industry in Australia to understand their ideal use there. Even going as far as to claim vaping is just as, if not more effective than, other traditional smoking cessation tools such as patches. It’s unclear if this research will lead to any significant changes in the land down under, but for now, it has advocates excited about the prospect of shifting momentum.
The new study was done by researchers with the University of Melbourne as well as the University of Queensland. The team set out to gain a deeper understanding of the role changing regulations plays on the uptake, switching, and primary usage of vaping devices. As it currently stands, to legally vape in Australia it requires not only a written doctor’s note but also specialized pharmacists must always have your e-liquids. Instead, they used data from the closest demographic, New Zealanders, to understand what happens if these harsh restrictions are loosened or even lifted. The team was resolute in their assertion the data could be meaningfully brought across the Tasman to indicate potential impact in Australia. Both due to cultural similarities and nearly identical smoking and disease rates.
It didn’t take long for the team to make some serious discoveries about the impact of more accessible vaping products in Australia. Perhaps the most compelling was that increasing access to nicotine vaping would be just as effective at improving the health of smokers as commonly used methods such as increased taxes on tobacco and less tobacco smoke shops. That’s the primary reason the team suggests legislators use vaping as part of an effective smoking cessation program. According to one of the lead researchers, “Strengthened policy on tobacco cigarettes, such as reducing the number of retail outlets, could work in tandem with greater access to nicotine vaping products to achieve maximal health gains.”
The Low-Down On Vaping
It doesn’t take a ton of digging to uncover reasons to support e-cigarettes. For starters, it’s easily the much safer option, as we’ve known for close to five years now. Research published by Public Health England back in 2015 concluded that not only is vaping safer, but it’s actually at least 95% safer than smoking. This was a significant discovery at the time, but these days we get results like this all the time. A few months ago a team of researchers concluded cigarette smoke has about 93% more toxicants than smoking, and another report found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is about 57,000 times higher than a demographically similar vaper.
Another argument you often hear against vaping revolves around their impact on teens. Parents and legislators are worried that if we support e-cigarettes for their harm reduction and smoking cessation value, it will tell kids they’re harmless and lead them to regular vaping. Taking things a step further, they then say these former non-smokers are ending up cigarette smokers for no other reason than vaping. That being said, the evidence seems to suggest this is more anecdotal than fact. A report of over 60,000 teens concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer regularly, let alone switching to cigarettes. Lastly, we have reason to believe vaping is the single best smoking cessation tool on the market according to a report conducted by the University of Louisville.
It’s more than likely the rules about vaping where you live are different than most people. It can even be hard for people in the same place to agree with a path forward and stick with it. That’s what makes it so great to see any sign that Australia could soon change course on e-cigarettes. The more we learn about what they have to offer, the easier a call it should be for legislators around the globe. That’s why it’s up to us to spread the positive information we have to the smokers in our lives. If we want smoking to stop being the leading cause of preventable death and disease, this is the absolute best place for us to start.
What sort of impact will this report have on vaping down under? What’s your favorite part about vaping? How should we teach others about the value of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.