A Whanganui business and the local quit smoking service want to "clear the air" on vaping and show the possible benefits in using vaping as a way to quit smoking.
Dr John McMenamin, the Whanganui Stop Smoking Service and Quit Clinic coaches invite people to meet at The Mushroom Cloud store today from 7pm learn more about vaping as a way to quit smoking.
They will provide information and dispel some of the myths about vaping and its potential use as a way to quit smoking. The public are welcome to ask questions about vaping and the transition from smoking.
Quit smoking trainer and quit coach Rosie McMenamin said the event was specifically for those looking to quit smoking.
"It's not to encourage people who would never have vaped or people who don't smoke; it's purely to help people who smoke to quit."
The Mushroom Cloud and Stop Smoking Service have been collaborating for two years as a way to help people transition from smoking to vaping. While vaping isn't harmless, it is much less harmful than smoking.
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"Vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than smoking according to a Public Health England study," McMenamin said.
"The idea is to drop down your levels of nicotine until you aren't nicotine dependent any more."
The subject hits close to home for store manager Jess Vlaanderen, a former smoker who has used vaping to help her quit.
"I saw how successful vaping was at helping others and I too wanted to better myself, my health, and to save money."
After 10 years of smoking, Vlaanderen decided she was ready to kick the habit. Before vaping, Vlaanderen tried various nicotine replacement therapies, but none of them worked for her.
"I didn't have the hand to mouth action, the act of inhalation, and vaping helped ease my nicotine cravings as it is similar to a cigarette.
"The flavours especially helped for me, because I didn't want to go with tobacco flavour because that would make me want a cigarette again."
No longer reliant on nicotine, she says her health overall has been greatly improved.
"Thanks to vaping I am no longer addicted to smoking, which is brilliant.
"My sense of smell and taste have greatly improved. [I'm] exercising a lot more and feeling so much better about myself."
McMenamin said it's not about transferral of addiction.
"We aren't encouraging people to switch one addiction to another. The idea is you vape to quit and then come off vaping. Nicotine isn't the harmful component of a cigarette, it's the carbon monoxide and chemicals when smoke is produced that harm you and others around you."
McMenamin, a former smoker herself, said the media is "scare-mongering" and hopes to provide people with factual information.
"Perceptions of vaping have got out of control."
McMenamin said a small number of deaths from harmful ingredients in black market e-juice vaping around the world has led the public to make uninformed choices about their health.
"Vitamin E acetate and diacetyl are the main ingredients of concern that have been added to e-liquids and they are not added to the e-liquids that we suggest clients to purchase."
McMenamin and Vlaanderen support the new legislation on vaping.
The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Vaping Amendment Bill bans the sale of vaping products to those under the age of 18.
It also prohibits advertising the products, restricts the sale of specific flavours to R18 specialty stores, and introduces a safety system which would allow the Ministry of Health to recall products, suspend them and issue warnings.
* Today's meet-up starts at 7pm at The Mushroom Cloud, 160A Victoria Ave.