Dispelling the myths about e-cigarettes

With the Federal Government recently announcing a crackdown on vaping, this is a hot topic this World No Tobacco Day (31 May), with an information campaign launched aimed at dispelling myths about the use of e-cigarettes.

“Since 1 October 2021, e-cigarettes with nicotine have only been available in Australia by prescription from a medical practitioner,” says Monash University PhD student, Melis Selamoglu who is researching GP attitudes on e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids with the Department of General Practice.

“This enables GPs, in particular, to discuss the use of e-cigarettes and provide information and support for smoking cessation.

“Little is known about Australian GPs’ preparedness to have these discussions with their patients and their perceptions of e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking cessation therapies.

“My research found Australian GPs held mixed views about recommending e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids to patients and prescribing nicotine-containing e-liquids.

“These were driven by a perceived lack of authoritative information from trusted authorities about e-cigarettes and nicotine e-liquids, uncertainty around the scientific evidence on the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes, and limited understanding about Australian policy regulations on e-cigarettes.

“Some GPs were willing to recommend e-cigarettes to patients, but mainly as a second- or third-line treatment when other options had failed.

“They wanted more information about how to prescribe and then step down the nicotine e-liquid dosage.

“Some GPs believed e-cigarettes to be a safer alternative to regular cigarettes, while others disagreed.

“GPs were concerned that e-cigarettes may become broadly accepted and used outside clinical use for smoking cessation, possibly leading to cigarette smoking or dual use.

“Additional information is required to guide policy on e-cigarettes and contribute to guidelines about the potential role and place of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids.

“Further research is also needed among GPs to clearly understand their perceptions and prescribing intentions, and a need for a clearer policy or guideline framework for prescribing e-cigarettes,” says Ms Selamoglu.

To be well informed and get the ‘facts on vaping’, visit: vapingfacts.org.au