Governments unite to urge caution on e-cigarettes

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The federal, state and territory governments say they will maintain a 'precautionary approach' following new research suggesting a link between the use of e-cigarettes and lung disease.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a health advisory to clinicians based on over 200 cases of lung disease in patients with a history of recent e-cigarette use.

According to a statement from Australia's chief medical officer and state and territory chief health officers, "No single substance or product has been consistently associated with illness, although many patients have reported use of cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

"Further investigations are underway. E-cigarettes are relatively new products and further research is needed to understand their long term impacts. However, increasing evidence reinforces the need to maintain, and where appropriate, strengthen the controls."

The health officers said people who use e-cigarettes with unexplained respiratory symptoms should seek medical advice. 

"At a population level, there continues to be insufficient evidence to promote the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation," they said.

"Unlike any e cigarette product, all smoking cessation products lawfully available for sale in Australia have been evaluated for safety and efficacy and have been registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). To date, the TGA has not approved any e-cigarette product as a therapeutic good to help smokers quit."