9 Jul 2015

Claim that false information being spread about e-cigs

10:17 am on 9 July 2015

Some health researchers and officials are spreading negative and false information about electronic cigarettes, a Maori health academic says.

The latest Ministry of Health figures on smoking show that around four in ten Māori adults are smokers.

Marewa Glover, an associate professor from Massey University, says their claims are putting people off from using them, but the electronic cigarettes do actually help many people stop smoking.

The importation and sale of nicotine to use in the e-cigarettes, which are also know as vapourisers, is banned in Aotearoa and can only be purchased online from overseas.

Professor Glover said millions of people in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States have switched to vaping.

"This is a consumer-driven movement, they (users) are finding the product on their own without government or public health support, without support from health professionals in the main and they have found that these products work and they are turning and helping each other.

"I think it is a travesty that our health professionals are not allowed to or don't have accurate information themselves so don't feel confident to support our smokers to quit using the new personal vapourising (devices)."

Professor Glover is calling for official recognition of the vapourisers as a way to help Māori quit smoking.

She said Maori are being disadvantaged because the nicotine product used in the vapourisers can only be purchased online from overseas.

"So you need a credit facility to buy on-line and access to a computer and IT savvy to search and find information, so straight away that advantages people with access to computers, so there are a whole lot of people who aren't going to get that."

Professor Glover said moves overseas to ban the vapourisers are short-sighted and draconian.