By Kirsty Davis, produced for online by Jessica Riga
With the popularity of electronic cigarettes at an all time high, major cigarette companies are progressively making the change after a huge increase in sales.
But since the introduction of the first e-cigarette in 2003, there’s been a long standing debate about whether they are healthier than regular cigarettes.
Cignall Capalaba owner and director Suleman Ismail sees an increase in e-cigarette sales each day, and the government’s efforts to deter smokers is only fueling the craze.
“This is a future, especially with the Australian government raising taxes year on year by ridiculous amounts. As cigarette prices go up, they [e-cigarettes] become more affordable and people will always choose a more affordable option.”
But the Cancer Council refuses to support the sale of them, with General Manager for Public Health Dr Peter Anderson saying e-cigarettes could possibly have more of a negative impact than standard cigarettes.
“There is still a risk from e-cigarettes to contributing towards cancer, but we also think that e-cigarettes might introduce a new group of potential smokers.”
With e-cigarettes only recently spiking in popularity in Australia, the little research into the short and long term health risks poses a problem for both officials and users.
“E-cigarettes might be a method of quitting in the same way patches and nicotine gum et cetera might be used to try and quit, to transfer from smoking to non-smoking,” says Dr Anderson. “The evidence doesn’t suggest that is the case with e-cigarettes.”
The Australian Medical Association’s vice president Tony Bartone agrees, arguing e-cigarettes should remain under strong regulations.
“We need to look at other methods designed to reduce smoking other than simply substituting the one potential harm to another which is yet to be proven safe or effective as a cessation aid.”