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Leading Harm Reduction Experts Dispute Claim That Vaping Is A Gateway To Smoking

Recent claims by Otago University in New Zealand that vaping is a gateway to smoking have been disputed by leading global harm reduction experts Roberto Sussman, Konstantinos Farsalinos, and Gerry Stimson. These experts have highlighted the importance of harm reduction strategies in reducing the negative health impacts of smoking.

According to Dr. Roberto Sussman, "There is no evidence that vaping is a gateway to smoking. In fact, studies have shown that vaping can be an effective tool for smoking cessation." Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos adds, "The vast majority of vapers are former smokers who have successfully quit smoking thanks to vaping."

Gerry Stimson, a public health expert and advocate for harm reduction, emphasises that "Harm reduction strategies like vaping are essential in reducing the negative health impacts of smoking. We need to focus on providing smokers with safer alternatives to cigarettes, rather than demonizing harm reduction strategies like vaping."

As Dr. Sussman notes, "We need to focus on harm reduction strategies that work, rather than relying on outdated and inaccurate claims about vaping being a gateway to smoking." Dr. Farsalinos adds, "The evidence is clear: vaping can be an effective tool for smoking cessation and harm reduction."

Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA), who compiled these comments, also disputed the recent claim by Otago University that vaping is a gateway to smoking. In her view, the recent claim by Otago University is not supported by the evidence and could discourage smokers from trying vaping as a tool for smoking cessation.

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According to recent data, the smoking incidence rates in New Zealand have fallen significantly over the past 5 to 10 years. The current smoking rate of New Zealand adults is 8% in 2021/2022, which has decreased from 16.5% in 2015 and from 27% in both men and women in 1993. Vaping has played a significant role in the reduction of smoking rates in New Zealand over the past 5 to 10 years. According to research published in the NZ Medical Journal, the current vaping rate in New Zealand is 8.3% of adults being categorized as daily e-cigarette users, up from 6.2% in the previous year.

"We need to focus on harm reduction strategies that work, rather than relying on outdated and inaccurate claims about vaping being a gateway to smoking. The evidence is clear: vaping can be an effective tool for smoking cessation and harm reduction," Ms Loucas said.

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