Most vapers want to quit

3 minute read

But with limited research into the best way to stop using e-cigarettes, what treatment options are there?

Most people who use e-cigarettes want to quit or reduce the amount they use, a Cancer Council survey has found.

The survey of current vapers found that 73% who vape at least once a week and 68% who vape monthly want to either quit or cut down in the next three months.

Of the respondents who reported vaping every day, 12% planned to quit in the next three months and 50% planned to cut down.

Quit Director Rachael Anderson said the Quit survey was the first to look at intentions to stop using e-cigarettes.

“It’s significant that so many vapers are looking to reduce the amount of intake that they’re currently having,” she said.

“People are concerned about their vaping habits … We know that nicotine is really addictive and it’s one thing to have that intention to quit but having the skills and the capacity to do so is another thing.”

Ms Anderson said legislation to remove the universal supply and easy access to vapes would lead to a reduction in ad hoc purchasing by “kids on the way home from school and people on a night out making bad decisions”.

“But that does put emphasis back on being able to appropriately support individuals who are wanting to reduce the amount of their vaping or to quit,” she said.  

Ms Anderson said there wasn’t yet enough evidence to show which vaping cessation interventions and strategies were effective.

“In the absence of evidence, there are so many effective strategies that we know are in place for smoking cessation … So we are recommending the same interventions, which is behavioural counselling and pharmacotherapy combined.

“The evidence really shows that, particularly around smoking, that behavioural counselling combined with pharmacotherapy is the most effective way to be able to quit.”

Ms Anderson said the Quit Centre provided education and tools for GPs to help patients quit tobacco and e-cigarettes, and patients could be referred to the Quitline.

“The Quitline counsellors are highly trained, they’re empathetic, and they’re there to help facilitate a shared decision-making process and provide skills and education and action planning around what strategies people might need to put in place to help them to be able to quit,” Ms Anderson said.

The TGA’s vaping hub also has information for prescribers including regulation reforms, prescribing and pathways for vaping and smoking cessation.

Ms Anderson said one in five Australians aged over 14 had tried e-cigarettes.

“In Victoria, 51% of people who vape are under 30, so we know it’s heavily skewed towards the young,” she said.

“We’re anticipating that there’s a new generation of nicotine dependence happening. Smoking rates in that younger demographic have dropped right down but we’re seeing large increases in the number of people who vape.

“So we know that there’s nicotine dependence occurring in those younger demographics but it’s through vaping rather than smoking.”

According to the latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey, 28% of adolescents aged 14 to 17 had ever used e-cigarettes in 2023, up from 9.6% in 2019.

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