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  1. #1
    Sik
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    Correspondence with the Heart Foundation (Vic)

    Using the online enquiry form for the Heart Foundation i asked for contact details for somebody involved in Tobacco Harm Reduction and received the following correspondence. I have edited out the name of the correspondent.

    To be fair, i may yet receive a response to the last email, we shall see.

    Hi

    I believe you were after some information on Tobacco Harm Reduction? I work in tobacco control, specifically in working with local government to make outdoor areas smoke-free (such as playground, swimming pools and alfresco dining areas).
    How can I help you?


    Hi

    Thank you for your response

    I guess I was probably more after someone on the harm reduction in tobacco users front rather than control in terms of making areas smoke free. Specifically areas of harm reduction or alternatives such as the use of Swedish Snus or Electronic Cigarettes as opposed to smoking tobacco.

    Any help you can provide pointing me in the direction of someone involved in these aspects ? Would be much appreciated

    Thanks

    Hi (edited out)

    The best people to speak to about this issue would be Quit Victoria. You can contact them on 9663 7777 or fill out a question online here: http://www.quit.org.au/forms/default...D=contact-quit.

    I hope that helps.


    Hi (edited out)

    I dont mean to be rude but to be honest, it doesn't help. Quit Victoria are pretty well useless for this area of enquiry. They operate and are supported by organisations such as the Heart Foundation and dont actually have a policy of their own.

    I can try them again, however people have contacted them in the past and been rebuffed along the lines of stating mantras about approved therapeutic products. They are not even interested in talking to people.

    I'm not interested in giving up smoking. I already have. What I am looking for is an avenue to discuss alternatives with organisations who's focus is community health. i.e The Heart Foundation or the Cancer Council. I do not represent a vendor or make any money off of alternative products. I am also not looking for an endorsement of any shape or form. I am simply curious about relevant bodies understanding of alternatives.

    I dont know if you are aware, but in New Zealand for example, alternative products such as electronic cigarettes are sold in chemists and the health department has conducted studies into the efficacy and risks of the devices. In Australia very little seems to be understood. I thought your organisation may have a view point of its own, or at least be aware that these things existed.

    If there isn't anyone else you can think of in your organisation who i may be able to talk with I thank You for taking the time to respond and continue to pursue other avenues of investigation with other organisations and authorities.

    Thanks
    Current Vape: Variable Wattage mod, EPM Boge tanks, Something Fruity

  2. #2
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    Well done Sik

  3. #3
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    very well worded and afirmative good on yer sikster.

  4. #4
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    Nice diplomatic response there.. Hopefully they reply with some good contacts for you

  5. #5
    Acb
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    Hey Sik, I'm 4/5th of the way through a big job which has involved lots of dealings with some of the leading cardiac physicians from here and the USA - I might make some inquiries with them to see what they think.

  6. #6
    Sik
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acb View Post
    Hey Sik, I'm 4/5th of the way through a big job which has involved lots of dealings with some of the leading cardiac physicians from here and the USA - I might make some inquiries with them to see what they think.
    Sounds awesome mate The old saying its not what you know its who you know is very appropriate for these sorts of things. Finding the right people to talk to can be half the battle, especially ones who are willing to listen.
    Current Vape: Variable Wattage mod, EPM Boge tanks, Something Fruity

  7. #7
    Sik
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    Some Further Correspondence:

    Hi

    Unfortunately Quit and the Heart Foundation do not have any fact sheets on e-cigarettes.

    My understanding (once again we don’t have a position) is that there is insufficient evidence to show they help people to quit and there are question marks over their safety (as they're largely unregulated and untested) – so more testing and research is needed. My understanding is that it is illegal to sell, possess or use e-cigarettes with nicotine cartridges in Victoria.

    You can read this fact sheet from Action on Smoking and Health in the UK http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_715.pdf.

    Unfortunately we don’t have the staff capacity to do more work in this area however I can let you know if anything changes.

    Thanks,

    and my response:

    Hi

    Maybe i can provide you a quick fact sheet (well i will try to be quick). I dunno if you will have time to read it all but here is some information I have compiled. As a person involved with tobacco, you understand what it does to people. I think you might be surprised how much research has been done into these things.

    Firstly to answer your statement that it is illegal to sell, posess or use, e-cigarettes in victoria, this is untrue. There are several companies Australian owned and operated who sell electronic cigarettes and liquids for vapourising. What is currently illegal for retail is nicotine. Currently electronic cigarette users can import nicotine legally and posess using provisions in the TGA's personal importation scheme for unapproved medicines.

    Secondly you made points about their efficacy and relative risks.

    Efficacy

    While the evidence of efficacy is still largely anecdotal. Take me as an example, 28 Years old, smoked scince the age of 13... Dont remember what life is like without smoking. Tried it all before, replaced cigarettes with an alternative over night. Yes I am still addicted to nicotine, but i have significantly reduced my risk of cancer. There are a suprising number of people out there like me.

    Dr Michael Siegel from boston university conducted a study in whic "Even though electronic cigarettes aren’t designed to be used to quit smoking, the study found that 31 percent of respondents reported having quit smoking within 6 months of purchasing an electronic cigarette. This is about twice as effective as traditional nicotine replacement products like the patch or nicotine gum, which only have a 12-18% average 6-month abstinence rate. In addition, the study found that almost 67% of respondents reported having reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked after using electronic cigarettes.

    Health Risk

    I will take this opportunity to point you to a couple of resources and reports with regards to the risk.

    If you have made it this far before binning the email please at least take the time to view this link from Health NZ, http://www.healthnz.co.nz/cancerrisk.htm

    Perhaps the previous link may have raised an eyebrow and you have a spare 10 minutes.... An article authoured by Professors at Berkley University and the Boston University of Public Health may be interesting... I'll paraphrase a small part of the article which can be found on Page 3....The level of cancer causing TSNA's found in e-cigarettes are similar to those levels recorded in the nicotine patch and shows them to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes and comparable in toxicity to conventional nicotine replacement products.

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/centers-...ticle.jphp.pdf

    If you have a bit more time skim read this report from Dr Murray Laugesen detailing research and toxicology tests done in 2008. http://www.healthnz.co.nz/RuyanCartr...t30-Oct-08.pdf

    I hope you made it this far, as your response to my enquiries while misinformed to the point of thinking the products are illegal unfortunately is not uncommon in Australia and its not your fault, information of these products doesnt seem to be readily available.... It is in fact the reason why i contacted your organisation in the first place... I thought public health initiatives and research were the types of things you did and you may be able to shed some light on things for me.

    Thanks again for your time,
    Current Vape: Variable Wattage mod, EPM Boge tanks, Something Fruity

  8. #8
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    I think it's great.

  9. #9
    Sik
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    Its kind of depressing realising just how blissfully ignorant some of these organisations are. I have as yet had no response to my requests for contact with QUIT or the Cancer Council and the Heart Foundation who to their credit responded within a few hours dont have a position but mistakenly believe that they are illegal and there are safty concerns
    Current Vape: Variable Wattage mod, EPM Boge tanks, Something Fruity

  10. #10
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    All we can do is keep talking, keep writing, and try and clear up a lot of the misconceptions.

    One bright note: That ASH UK paper is actually fairly balanced. We might know that they work, but there haven't been many trials yet. That's what we need - somebody like The Cancer Council, or Heart Foundation , to do the research. It may seem a tad negative to us, but we're probably too far in the other direction

    Surely some of the $5.2 billion in tobacco excise could be given to, say the CSIRO to conduct some trials?

 

 
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