Ignoring evidence at best, denying Australians choice at worst

Ignoring evidence at best, denying Australians choice at worst

The past few days have seen renewed calls for a robust national anti-tobacco campaign following Scott Morrison’s federal election win. This comes as a new study out of the UK found that e-cigarettes are 3 times more effective quit smoking aid than Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products such as gums and patches. Let’s take a look at the arguments on either side.

Firstly, and as we reported last week, a study led by University College London of almost 19,000 smokers, found that e-cigarettes were more effective than Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to reduce nicotine cravings, and help smokers quit for good. The study was funded by UK Cancer Research.

Lead author of the study, Dr Sarah Jackson said, “Our study adds to growing evidence that use of e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit.”

Further, Dr Penny Woods, CEO of the British Lung Foundation said, "This study also provides further evidence that e-cigarettes are an effective quitting tool. The choice to switch to e-cigarettes must be made easier.”

On the other hand, in Australia, our health organisations have their heads stuck in the sand.

Cancer Council Australia today renewed their desire for more of the status quo. CEO Professor Sanchia Aranda said, "Hard-hitting mass media campaigns, coupled with tobacco excise and smoke free environments, remain the most important things governments can do to reduce” the cancer burden.

Further, the Australian Council on Smoking and Health supported Cancer Council Australia’s call for a national anti-tobacco campaign, describing it as "the missing ingredient" in Australia's approach to reduce smoking.

And what would have to be the most ignorant comment within the whole debate comes from an Australian self-proclaimed ‘smoking cessation expert’, who in the Australian Journal of Pharmacy over the weekend claimed that studies that demonstrated vaping as a successful smoking quit aid “are really, really overhyped and from very, very dodgy studies”. Perhaps this expert can explain why University College London’s study is dodgy..

Given the above comments by Australian health organisations and ‘experts’, amidst the growing body of international scientific evidence which demonstrates that vaping is an effective quit smoking aid, suggests the Australian authorities and health bodies are simply ignoring the evidence at best, and wilfully denying Australians a better choice at worst, when it comes to actually making a difference and helping Australians quit smoking for good.