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'Be cautious': Kiwi doctor says vaping is not for everyone

Newshub logoNewshub 6 days ago Lucy Warhurst
a person standing in front of a building: An expert says people should ultimately only vape if they are trying to quit smoking - but should aim to stop vaping too. © Video - Newshub; Image - Getty An expert says people should ultimately only vape if they are trying to quit smoking - but should aim to stop vaping too.

US health officials have confirmed another death linked to vaping, and now New Zealanders are being warned of the dangers.

Vaping is a growing industry in New Zealand, but questions are being raised about its safety.

It's been linked to six deaths and potentially hundreds of cases of severe lung illness in the US. 

While there are no cases here, Dr Stuart Jones says vaping is not as safe as it is claimed to be.

"Ultimately it's not safe... you are inhaling substances into your airways and those substances will cause inflammation and damage over time," Dr Jones from New Zealand's Asthma and Respiratory Foundation told Newshub.

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There are concerns in the US over 'modified' products. A number of patients reported vaping both nicotine and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana.

The New Zealand Vaping Alliance says that's not a problem here.

"In New Zealand, it's a nicotine-based industry, whereas in America there's a lot of THC and cannabinoids that people are putting into their liquids," says QJ Satchell, NZ Vapor's managing director.

He also says it's important that people stick to reputable products and don't modify them.

"It's like anything if you use a product that's not to manufacturers specifications - you know, if you get a car and you soup it up to 1200 horsepower, it's not going to be as safe as what it was when it was 120 horsepower," Satchell explains.

He says vaping is still safer than smoking and can help people quit the habit.

Researchers from the University of Auckland found people who used nicotine e-cigarettes alongside patches were more likely to quit smoking successfully.

Dr Jones says the only people who should be vaping are smokers who have failed to quit using other methods - and definitely not young people.

"I think you do have to be cautious with them. If you're going to use them as a smoking cessation aid, you should ultimately be aiming to stop the vaping as well."

He says the only thing we should be inhaling is clean, fresh air or medications that have undergone robust testing.

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