To say Aussie doctors support vaping is pushing it a little – what they have said is e-cigarettes could or should be prescribed if all other stop smoking solutions have failed.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners [RACGP] has just updated its national smoking cessation guidelines and last on the list of recommendations is indeed the use of e-cigarettes.
However the organization still believe smokers looking to quit should go down what they believe is the tried and tested route of medication – patches and gums, something we know doesn’t work anywhere near as well as vaping and e-cigarettes.
The RACGP say:
Nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are not first-line treatments for smoking cessation.
The strongest evidence base for efficacy and safety is for currently approved pharmacological therapies combined with behavioural support.
The lack of approved nicotine-containing e-cigarettes products creates an uncertain environment for patients and clinicians, as the constituents of the vapour produced have not been tested and standardised.
However, for people who have tried to achieve smoking cessation with approved pharmacotherapies but failed, but who are still motivated to quit smoking and have brought up e-cigarette usage with their healthcare practitioner, nicotine containing e-cigarettes may be a reasonable intervention to recommend.
GPs Must Advise Smokers About Vaping
The RACGP also recommend that GPs follow certain protocols when deciding if a smoker should try e-cigarettes and need to be told:
- no tested and approved e-cigarette products are available
- the long-term health effects of vaping are unknown
- possession of nicotine-containing e-liquid without a prescription is illegal
- in order to maximise possible benefit and minimise risk of harms, only short-term use should be recommended
- dual use (ie with continued tobacco smoking) needs to be avoided.
Sadly the RACGP adds the recent outbreak of EVALI in the USA into the mix.
And despite mentioning the illnesses and deaths were caused by Vitamin E acetate found in black-market THC cartridges, the mere mention of death and illness will I’m sure mean GPs getting more than a little confused.
The new guidelines on e-cigarettes concludes:
These products are not approved for therapeutic use in Australia, and the sale of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes is illegal in all states and territories.
Nicotine-containing e-liquids for e-cigarettes is only legally available with a prescription, which can be filled by a compounding pharmacy or imported under the TGA’s Personal Importation Scheme.
Practitioners should exercise caution in deciding whether it is in the patient’s best interest to prescribe nicotine for inhalation as a smoking cessation aide.
I’m pretty sure inhaling nicotine via e-liquids is a lot safer than taking those mind bending suicide thought inducing drugs…but hey – I’m not a doctor…
Aussie Doctors Support Vaping – Advocacy Groups Welcome the News
The Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association [ATHRA] was delighted the country’s leading GP organization had given vaping a boost and called for smokers looking to quit to get to their nearest vape shop.
The College is to be congratulated for this important shift in policy based on a comprehensive review of the evidence.
— ATHRA (@ATHRA_AU) January 28, 2020
A spokesman said:
GPs were previously reluctant to support vaping as it was not yet approved by health authorities.
However now the peak GP organisation has given its stamp of approval, smokers can ask their GP or health professional about vaping and get their support on the quitting journey.
The research shows that support from a health professional increases quit rates even further.
Vaping is the most effective quitting aid available.
A recent study found that it was nearly twice as effective as nicotine patches and gums.
Vaping is not risk-free but, according to the UK Royal College of Physicians, long-term vaping is likely to be at least 95% less harmful than smoking.
Visit your local vape shop for more advice on what device and e-liquid to use and practical help in making the switch.
More information is available on the ATHRA website.
Good news here for Australia as their Royal Australian College of General Practitioners endorses #vaping as a means to quit #smoking, even though it is still, unfortunately, ring fenced to prescription only. One step closer!
Let’s hope health minister Greg Hunt – the idiot who vowed vaping would never be legal on his watch – is listening…though one doubts it.