May 30, 2014

Call to clear the air around e-cigarettes

Lung Foundation Australia is calling for greater regulation of the growing e-cigarette market in Australia following recent media debate about their benefits.

Lung Foundation CEO William Darbishire said the FDA in America had recently introduced new guidelines and called on the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration to follow suit.

“At the moment there is confusion around who, how and when people can buy or use e-cigarettes, with different rules and interpretations in different states, and we believe it is vital for the industry as a whole to work together to offer the best solution for all people,” Mr Darbishire said.

“Because e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly widespread, we strongly urge the TGA to develop a regulatory framework to control the quality of the devices and the liquid used, including clear labelling and warnings,” he said.

“Our concern is that at the moment e-cigarettes are being sold over the counter at local stores with little oversight, regulation or quality control.

“We simply don’t know enough about how they work and the risks or benefits at this stage, which is why we advocate a cautious, regulated approach to their use.”

“While there are fewer toxins in e-cigarettes than in traditional cigarettes, there are no long-term studies on the safety of e-cigarettes, particularly in relation to small particles in the vapour and their impact on youth.1,2

“There is currently not enough evidence to suggest the use of e-cigarettes as an effective smoking cessation tool over current recommended strategies.

Mr Darbishire said the growing debate on the role that e-cigarettes might play in smoking cessation has highlighted the importance of quitting.

“We know quitting smoking altogether has significant benefits for your health and quitting smoking at any age has benefits,” Mr Darbishire said.

“The current body of research available tells us that the most effective way to quit smoking is to get ongoing support from a health professional, using a combination of counselling and medication,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how long you have been smoking, giving up cigarettes is the best thing you can do for your lung health.”


[1] Bistreich-Wolfe & Spangenberg 29 April 2014, Electronic cigarettes may cause, worsen respiratory diseases, among youth, study finds, RTI International, Accessed: 15/05/2014.

[2]Elsevier Ltd, 19 May 2014, Safety dominates the debate on electronic cigarettes, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine,, or doi:10.1016/S2213-2600(14)70092-X, Accessed 21/05/2014.