The results from the largest randomised trial in the world of e-cigarette use involving Māori has been warmly welcomed by Mihi Blair, Hāpai Te Hauora General Manager of Tobacco Control Advocacy Services.
The study, published in the medical journal, "The Lancet Respiratory Medicine" was conducted by Associate Professor Natalie Walker, Professor Chris Bullen and Dr George Laking (Te Whakatōhea) from the University of Auckland.
"Almost 500 Māori participated in this study, making up 40% of those who took part," Ms. Blair said. "What’s more, eight in every ten Māori participants was a woman. The results highlight the help vaping provides as another quitting tool."
The 1124 participants - adults from all over New Zealand who were motivated to quit smoking - were randomly split into three groups: nicotine patches only, patches plus nicotine-free e-cigarettes and patches with an e-cigarette with 18mg of nicotine in the study, which took place between 2016 - 2018.
People who used patches plus nicotine e-cigarettes were more likely to have gone without smoking for six months following the treatment, than those who used patches plus nicotine-free e-cigarettes with the figures ranging from 7% vs. 4% based on the most conservative analysis, ranging up to 17% vs. 10% for the least conservative analysis.
"Those figures sound small but actually what they mean is thousands of Māori smokers would be able to give up," Ms. Blair said.
The research echoes that of four other clinical trials which show that nicotine e-cigarettes significantly increases six-month quit rates compared to using nicotine-free e-cigarettes and using approved forms of NRT.
"The research is now showing that when used in a quit programme vaping is highly effective."
"What gives me heart is that this study proves beyond doubt that Māori rates can come down from the present 35% for Wāhine, 27% for Tāne and 20% for Pasifika." Ms. Blair said.
"This trial has established how combining nicotine e-cigarettes with patches for Māori who want to quit smoking is highly effective and once people have access to quit tools, support and education, they can achieve their dream of being smokefree."