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Health professionals increaingly accept tobacco alternatives

New Zealand, 23 April 2019 — A majority of healthcare professionals in New Zealand view Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, as a viable alternative to cigarettes if they are legalised and regulated appropriately, according to new research conducted by Frost & Sullivan.

Over 500 adults in New Zealand (including current, former and non-smokers), as well as 60 healthcare professionals (including GPs, medical specialists (such as psychiatrists, surgeons and radiologists), nurses, pharmacists, and allied healthcare professionals) were interviewed as part of an opinion research study to gauge the level of understanding and attitudes towards alternatives to cigarettes.

New Zealand has moved to reduce smoking rates in recent decades, and currently boasts one of the lowest smoking rates in the developed world. However, almost 600,000 New Zealanders continue to smoke, with particularly high smoking rates among population groups such as Māori and the most economically-disadvantaged New Zealanders.

While the Government has set a target of achieving a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025, with a smoking rate of 5% or less nationwide, achieving this goal is likely to be challenging. Smoking is therefore likely to continue to be a significant health and economic challenge for New Zealanders.

Managing Director of Frost & Sullivan ANZ, Mark Dougan noted: “Smoking is still a key area of concern amongst healthcare professionals, with 90% believing that the government still needs to do more to address smoking. Our research shows that there is broad acceptance that ENDS are significantly less harmful than cigarettes, and widespread agreement amongst healthcare professionals that ENDS should be legalised as long as they are appropriately regulated.”

Healthcare professionals are largely supportive of the use of ENDS, with 65% agreeing that they would prefer smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit to switch to these instead of smoking cigarettes, with 33% unsure and only 2% opposed.

“In general, healthcare professionals believe that tobacco harm reduction products such as ENDS can aid in reducing the harm from smoking,” Mr Dougan said.

“Our survey indicates that 60% of smokers overall and 64% of Māori smokers would like to quit, but are facing challenges in doing so, with current smokers who have tried to quit reporting, on average, over six unsuccessful attempts to do so,” he added.

“However, about 40% of smokers do not wish to quit or are not sure. In this case, switching to tobacco harm reduction products is a better option in the long term than continuing to smoke cigarettes,” he said.
The survey also showed that healthcare professionals believe that greater promotion and raising awareness of the role of ENDS to both healthcare professionals and smokers and their families is necessary.
For more information or to download the report, please visit http://frost.ly/3ej


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