New age smokes not safe, says Quit

QUIT Victoria says smokers should not be fooled by electronic cigarettes - a device that heats up liquid nicotine, which turns into a vapour people inhale and exhale. 

E-cigarettes, which are not included in current legislation that bans smoking in closed public spaces, have been a hot topic in Bendigo since debate was ignited about a smoking ban concept in outdoor dining areas. 

Executive director Fiona Sharkie said e-cigarettes had been around since the 1960s but had only gained popularity in the past few years due to greater promotion. 

"Our position is that we don't know if e-cigarettes are completely safe," she said. 

Ms Sharkie said there was also the worry that e-cigarettes could normalise smoking.

"Some of these capsules contain nicotine, which under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act (1981) it is illegal to sell, but you can also buy capsules that don't contain nicotine," she said. 

"Those capsules are often fruit or confectionery flavour.

"You can imagine who is going to buy them - kids."

La Trobe's public health expert Steve Begg said e-cigarettes were an interesting development.

"At this stage, the research suggests e-cigarettes are not harmful," he said. 

"It is the tobacco and the burning of the cigarette, not nicotine, that causes cancer." 

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