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University of Otago Research Fellow Dr Mei-Ling Blank and Prof Hoek, the latter of the university marketing department, yesterday gave a public health seminar at the Otago preventive and social medicine department.
The talks, attended by about 30 people, were titled "Vaping among smokers and non-smokers: Qualitative research and findings from a smart e-cigarette study".
"We need to make it clear to people there has to be a full cessation [of smoking]," Prof Hoek said in an interview.
Dr Blank discussed a study of "smoking-to-vaping transition attempts" using a "smart" Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), which allowed recording of vaping behaviours in real time, combined with self-reported updates on cigarette smoking.
Dr Blank is also part of Aspire 2025, a multi-department Otago research theme supporting the goal of smoke-free New Zealand by 2025.
Prof Hoek commented on another Otago study, part of which focused on 20 dual users, and also reflected on wider international discussions about people who both smoked and vaped, she said.
Many people had remained dual users but a public health challenge was to convince smokers that the ultimate goal was not simply reducing harm by smoking less, but to quit completely.
Even regular smoking of a few cigarettes had damaging effects on human health, Prof Hoek said.
Dr Blank said vaping remained a controversial technology, despite strong support for its harm-reducing benefits from the Royal College of Physicians in Britain and the New Zealand Ministry of Health.
Dr Blank also reflected on an eight-week feasibility study of a smart vaping recording system among 11 dual users: smokers who were using vaping in a bid to quit smoking.