• August 7, 2020

Radical research into e-cigarettes turns out to be more run-of-the-mill

Research into electronic cigarettes initiated by Australia’s previous Labor government seems not to have had such a progressive aim as was reported earlier this week.

Writing for the Sun-Herald group of newspapers, Eamonn Duff reported that, with a federal government-funded trial about to test the viability of electronic cigarettes as a safer, permanent replacement for tobacco, Australia could become the first major nation to outlaw smoking completely. His story was reported here on Sept. 17.

Duff said that Dr. Coral Gartner was due shortly to lead a trial of 1,600 smokers at the University of Queensland’s (UoQ) center for clinical research.

Gartner was quoted as saying that electronic cigarettes had the potential to be beneficial to public health if they were used to replace completely traditional cigarettes.

But Gartner said in a note published on the UoQ’s website (http://www.uq.edu.au/news/?article=26709) that the previous government had commissioned a regulatory impact statement, unconnected to the university’s research, to consider whether further regulation, such as bans on the sale and promotion of electronic cigarettes were necessary.

The UoQ research study was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant. It was being conducted independently of government.

The purpose of the UoQ trial was to test the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation by comparing their effectiveness in helping smokers to quit with that of traditional cessation aids, such as nicotine gum and inhalators.