I recently read an article in smh.com.au regarding a court ruling banning not just the sale, but all use of electronic cigarettes (or "e-cigs") in Western Australia. For those who are unaware, e-cigs (or vaporisers) are devices which heat a flavoured liquid turning it into vapour and allowing the user to simulate the effects of smoking by inhaling and exhaling this vapour.
As a non-smoker, I don't have much sympathy for smokers in general. However, after delving into the whole argument for and against e-cigarettes in general, I find there to be certain ironies that exist around the above ruling (one which has been dividing opinions). I'll explain my reasoning in more detail below, but if there are two things surrounding e-cigs that I'm certainly in favour of that would be helping friends and family quit the filthy habit of smoking as well as showing them where to find the best value for money e-cig options online.
There seems to be an ongoing debate on whether or not e-cigarettes have a good or a bad influence on people’s smoking habits. On one side of the fence there are those who look at it as a bit of a "cool gadget", encouraging youngsters to take up smoking. From my investigations online though, it doesn't appear as if any comprehensive e-cigarrette studies have been concluded to date which cover whether people are influenced by them or how their health is affected.
Also, there isn't any conclusive evidence either to confirm whether or not they work any better than other nicotine replacements. And as long as Australia's TGA (Therapeutic Goods Authority) agency doesn't approve e-cigarettes as a cessation aid to stop smoking, they cannot be marketed for that purpose. This topic is scheduled for further discussion though at the World Health Organisation’s meeting on tobacco control, due to take place in Moscow this coming October.
On one side I tend to agree that the open use of e-cigs may have an effect (to some degree) on influencing a teenager's/non-smoker's attitude towards smoking by encouraging it. However, on the other hand it would also appear as though many people worldwide are claiming that e-cigs are one of the most effective ways to quit.
Also, I find it ironic that anyone aged 18 or older can still walk into a licensed store and buy a packet of traditional cigarettes which contain tar and other known toxins which cause cancer and emphysema. Yet nobody can purchase nicotine laced e-liquids that contain none of the afore mentioned substances. Not to mention WA where not even the nicotine free liquids can be bought in-store.
Thus, at this point in my research I find myself feeling more empathetic towards the use of e-liquids, particularly those that are nicotine free, as a method to help to stop smoking.
Then there's my biggest pet peeve with smokers of having to breath in (and smell like) all that secondary smoke when in their vicinity. The liquid used in e-cigs generally only consists of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, distilled water and flavouring. So with it would seem as though the vapour that is expelled eradicates the annoyance and the associated health issues of secondary smoke for non-smokers. Admittedly though, the limited research around the topic suggests that the jury is still out on this one regarding the exact effects of secondary smoke inhalation from these devices.
WHERE TO GET THE BEST DEALS ON E-CIGARETTES
Nicotine as a substance is classified as a schedule 2 drug in Australia, implying that it can only be sold through pharmacies. This forces e-cig smokers to buy any cartridges and e-liquids which contain nicotine online internationally, mainly from New Zealand. However, from now on residents of Western Australia will even have to buy their nicotine free refills (as well as the e-cig devices) online after it became illegal in April for them to be sold anywhere within the state.
There are several local online retailers selling both e-cigarette starter kits and refills. Vaper Empire, for example, offers a range of styles when it comes to devices alondside a wide selection of flavoured e-liquids. Starter kits range from between $85 to $130, depending on the models chosen, while e-liquids are $12 each. You can also get 6 of them for the price of 5 ($60) in opt for one of their value packs.
Alternatively, if you prefer the traditional cartridge based e-cigarettes, Blackhawx offers starter kits and nicotine free flavoured refills which include free shipping Australia-wide on all orders over $99. A starter kit will cost you $89.95, which seems to be one of the most competitive prices online locally when compared to other Australian retailers who appear to be selling similar starter kits for over $100.
Buying electronic cigarettes abroad seems to be the most reasonable alternative, not to mention that it might be your only option if the WA e-cig ban goes nationwide. UK based merchant SMOKO sells starter kits including a free pack of refills for a total of $45.32. SMOKO also offers store credit for rating products or writing a review, which can give you additional discounts to use on your next purchase. Also, keep in mind it's worth checking Buckscoop’s Vouchers page for SMOKO discount codes on a regular basis.
[E-cig Fact Sheet - Quitsa.org.au]