A new study on vaping supports community voices in showing that vaping is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
In a randomised control trial (RCT) by Professor Hayden McRobbie and colleagues, almost 900 people seeking to quit tobacco received either NRT or a vape, coupled with behavioural support. Results 12 months later indicated that those who vaped were almost twice as likely (18.0%) to remain smokefree as those who used NRT (9.9%). Results also show the importance of behavioural support to quit.
Hāpai Te Hauora has consistently advocated for the relative benefits of using vaping to quit cigarettes, and believes increased access to vaping coupled with behavioural support is a key for people to quit.
Hāpai General Manager for Tobacco Control, Mihi Blair, states, "For everyone banging on about the need for quality research on vaping- here it is. You can’t get much better than an RCT and it confirms exactly what our communities are asking us- why is NRT free and unlimited, but vaping isn’t?"
Vape2Save director, Rebecca Ruwhiu-Collins agrees and states "I question what funding will be given to communities who many whānau turn to for vaping advice. We know that when a person feels supported with the right information and advice, they are on a pathway to quit smoking tobacco Whānau that have quit smoking using vaping have been a great source of health advice and support to other smokers that have are curious to give vaping a try. I would like to see behavioural support extend beyond just smoking cessation services - community, holistic services, vape vendors are also key to provide support."
In a bid to improve vaping regulations, Associate Minister of Health, Jenny Salesa announced late last year that there are to be restrictions as to where and how vapes are sold. Given this new evidence, Blair hopes the minister would be open to reconsidering how these regulations could be improved to reduce harm but not access:
"This study shows how important vaping support is. That’s why I’m concerned as to why, first and foremost, there’s no indication of vaping resources being dedicated to smoking cessation providers, and secondly, no indication of working with quality, supportive vape businesses to provide the education needed to quit smoking. We agree with Salesa that vaping can be a great tool to quit, so let’s not make it any harder for those who want to give up the smokes."
Link to research article here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1808779