The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has voiced its support of e-cigarettes and vaporizers as a harm minimisation and smoking cessation aid in a submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Health, Aged Care and Sport Inquiry into the use and marketing of electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers in Australia.
Smoking rates are of particular concern to psychiatrists because although smoking rates in the general population have decreased significantly in the past 20 years, the rates of smoking in people with mental illness have not decreased at all. It is the RANZCP’s view that e-cigarettes and vaporizers could be used as a harm minimization strategy to improve the health of smokers with severe mental illness.
The key points of the RANZCP submission are:
- People living with mental illness are more likely to smoke and tend to smoke more heavily than people without mental disorders.
- Research shows that 70% of people with schizophrenia and 61% of people with bipolar disorder smoke compared to 16% of those without mental illness.
- People living with mental illness also experience significantly poorer physical health outcomes compared to the general population and smoking is the leading cause of this.
- E-cigarettes and vaporizers provide a safer way to deliver nicotine to those who are unable to stop smoking, thereby minimizing the harms associated with smoking tobacco and reducing some of the health disparities experienced by people with mental illness.
Read the full submission Inquiry into the use and marketing of electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers in Australia