CIGARETTE alternatives are too much a cloudy grey area, according to a Ballarat alcohol and drug expert, who says education in changing habits was key to making a different.
Ballarat Community Health’s Brett Valance said cigarette smoking rates across the city were on the decline but it was important to raise awareness in services and products available to help people seeking to quit this World No Tobacco Day.
“Everyone knows cigarettes are harmful, but we really need to be talking more about treatments,” Mr Valance said.
“It can take more than once to quit and we need to break that assumption. It can take multiple attempts. That’s what I see as the most difficult, the behaviour change.”
Mr Valance warned against the potential of chop chop, an untaxed and homegrown illegal tobacco which was commonly mistaken for being more natural.
While often cheaper, chop chop has been shown to include bulking agents like twigs and grass clippings, and often carries fungal or mouldy spores.
Mr Valance said there were too many unknown factors about e-cigarettes and the potential harms they could cause, despite being legal smoking alternatives in the United States and United Kingdom.
The sale, use and possession of e-ciagarette products containing nicotine are banned in Victoria. BCH does not promote or support e-cigarettes as a safe alternative or quit aid.
BCH offers free smoking cessation clinics and one-on-one counselling support. Mr Valance said it was important to talk about options in the clinic or with your general practitioner for the right support.
While nicotine replacement therapies were easily accessible as was a quit smartphone app support, Mr Valance said it was vital to learn how to use them properly for the best effects.
Mr Valance said decreased smoking or quitting can have a quick and dramatic impact on your lungs, which could be measured in a smokerlyser that records the carbon monoxide levels in your breath.
World Health Organisation put the spotlight on strong links between cardiovascular disease and smoking with the theme Tobacco Breaks Hearts this year.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE