Health New Zealand News 2010 For more items see


3% of smokers in UK (300,000) using nicotine e-cigarettes:


Three years after e-cigarettes were first sold in the UK, a national survey by Martin Dockrell of ASH UK, presented at Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco at Bath UK in September 2010 shows 9% had tried the e-cigarette, and 3% were still using it when surveyed. If these 3% have all stopped smoking tobacco, then in New Zealand this would equate, based on 20% of adults smoking, to two years progress in NZ in reducing smoking prevalence at current rates of decline post-1990.


As half of those surveyed had not heard of e-cigarettes, and further tobacco taxes could increase pressures to quit, it is tempting to speculate whether e-cigarettes could lower cigarette sales by 10% within five years, equal to lowering smoking prevalence by two percentage points.


Some persistent e-cigarette users may also be smoking the odd tobacco cigarette. However reducing tobacco consumption 95% will benefit their health, and lower total cigarette consumption.


21 October 2010

Source and prices of e-cigarettes, New Zealand; nicotine e-cigarettes also



27 September 2010

E-cigarette on Letterman show in USA increases e-cigarette sales overnight in New Zealand

Katherine Heigl introduced an electronic cigarette on 'Late Show' Monday night.


Sales increased overnight, according to Elusion, an e-cigarette distributor in Auckland NZ.


The actress Katherine Heigl, who played a doctor on the show Grey's Anatomy and has appeared in many films was a guest on the CBS Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday evening. She discussed her past smoking, which has occasionally put her in the news (see People story link below), and then puffed on an e-cigarette, eventually sharing it with the host - a current non-smoker but former Cigar Aficionado 'cover boy' who's had quintuple bypass surgery and is quite critical of smoking.


Katherine Heigl introduced an electronic cigarette on 'Late Show' Monday night.


What is a smoke stick? Katherine Heigl puffs on electronic cigarette during 'Late Show' appearance


She first tried gum, patch, and then Chantix (Champix) twice.

Air Date: 27/9/10 Clip 1:57\




22 September 2010

Inhaled propylene glycol in e-cigarettes not a safety concern


Propylene glycol, the main constituent of electronic cigarette cartridge liquid and vapour, has been tested at very high dose in rats and dogs for 28 days for its safety in carrying cyclosporine antibiotic in aerosol into the lung. This was a preclinical study to pave the way for using cyclosporine inhaled in PG for preventing infection after lung transplants in humans.


Propylene glycol is known to rapidly kill bacteria and viruses. Medsafe in New Zealand has not raised any questions with regard to the safety of propylene glycol, permitting its sale without restriction in non-nicotine e-cigarettes. Propylene glycol and or glycerine (glycol) are the main ingredients in e-cigarette liquid.


30 August 2010

Dramatic slump in cigarette sales NZ Herald. 15% fall in supermarket sales.


2 July 2010

Health New Zealand Ltd asks Tobacco Inquiry for firms to report nicotine content of all brands of smoking tobacco products, View submission to enable smokers to taper down their nicotine intake successfully, and to pave way for taxation of nicotine content to lower the addictiveness of cigarettes.


17 June 2010

Research: Major electronic cigarette trial – funded- world first

Health Research Council of NZ announced this week ( the award of a grant to Clinical Trials Research Unit University of Auckland, for a randomized controlled trial of electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation device. The principal investigator is Associate Professor Chris Bullen, and co-investigators are Drs Natalie Walker, Hayden McRobbie and Murray Laugesen. To our knowledge this is the first randomized controlled trial in any country of a full strength (16 mg) electronic cigarette for smoking cessation to be funded. The trial will compare a nicotine electronic cigarette with a nicotine patch and with a zero-nicotine electronic cigarette. This trial will also report on clinical safety.


13 June 2010

Interview: The Last Gasp

Anthony Hubbard Sunday Star Times p.C5

Anti-smoking groups are pushing for a ban on cigarette sales – but critics say it would just lead to a huge blackmarket.

Interview with Dr Murray Laugesen.


11 June 2010

Research: Pre-cessation nicotine replacement therapy: pragmatic randomized trial: published

Chris Bullen, Colin Howe, Ruey-Bin Lin, Michele Grigg, Murray Laugesen,

Hayden McRobbie, Marewa Glover, Natalie Walker, Mark Wallace-Bell,

Robyn Whittaker & Anthony Rodgers. Addiction doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.02989.x

Conclusions In this, the largest pre-cessation NRT trial to date, using NRT 2 weeks before the target quit day was safe and well tolerated but offered no benefit over usual care. However, in conjunction with previous pre-cessation trials there appears to be a moderate benefit, but not as large as that seen in most smaller trials.

1 June 2010

Research: Zonnic nicotine mouth spray and lozenge effective in relieving cravings: published

McRobbie H, Thornley S, Bullen C, Lin R-B, Senior H, Laugesen M, Whittaker R, Hayek P. A randomized trial of the effects of two novel nicotine replacement therapies on tobacco withdrawal symptoms and user satisfaction.

Published in Addiction On line 14 May 2010 ahead of print. Abstract at PMID 20491724


Comment Despite having researched these nicotine products in NZ, NZ’s small market does not get priority for early sale here.

The Zonnic mouthspray, on sale in Sweden, is being trialled (recruiting now) during 2010 in Christchurch and Wellington by University of Otago (Prof Julian Crane and Dr Caldwell ), for its ability to help people stop smoking.


17 May 2010

Research: Pulmonary delivery of Nicotine Pyruvate: Pharmacokinetic and Sensory Characteristics

In Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology journal: For publication soon: Accepted

Jed E. Rose, James E. Turner, Thangaraju Murugesan, Frederique M. Behm, and Murray Laugesen

The NP cigarette will be an advance on the e-cigarette, in that nicotine is absorbed rapidly via the lung. For more, see below. (March 2010)


14 May 2010

Oral submission to the Maori Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into the Tobacco Industry

from Health New Zealand Ltd: Summarises company research relevant to the Inquiry. (Powerpoint slideshow). more....


14 May 2010

Four policies to end sales of cigarettes and smoking tobacco in New Zealand by 2020:published

NZ Medical Journal 14 May 2010.


17 April 2010 NZ Herald

Medical rules lead to withdrawal of electronic quit-smoking aid An online pharmacy recalls nicotine ecigarettes


15 April 2010 NZ Herald

Smoker wants e-ciggie nicotine in a shop near him An ecigarette fan was once a very heavy smoker.


Newswire 13 April 2009

Health campaigner: The e-ciggie a step towards ending nicotine’s evil

Virginia McMillan. Interview with Dr Murray Laugesen: 25 years working on smoking, 50 years in medicine.


NZ Herald 13 April 2009

E-ciggie may help smokers to quit

NZ E-cigarette trial Tob Control 2010;19:98-103 doi:10.1136/tc.2009.031567 published 9 April 2009

The electronic cigarette is effective in raising plasma nicotine levels, and in reducing cravings, and is more pleasant to use than the medicinal nicotine inhaler…………….

Effect of an electronic nicotine delivery device (e cigarette) on desire to smoke and withdrawal, user preferences and nicotine delivery: randomised cross-over trial

C Bullen1, H McRobbie2, S Thornley3, M Glover4, R Lin5, M Laugesen6 Full text as pdf


Objectives To measure the short-term effects of an electronic nicotine delivery device (“e cigarette”, ENDD) on desire to smoke, withdrawal symptoms, acceptability, pharmacokinetic properties and adverse effects.

Design Single blind randomised repeated measures cross-over trial of the Ruyan V8 ENDD.

Setting University research centre in Auckland, New Zealand.

Participants 40 adult dependent smokers of 10 or more cigarettes per day.

Interventions Participants were randomised to use ENDDs containing 16 mg nicotine or 0 mg capsules, Nicorette nicotine inhalator or their usual cigarette on each of four study days 3 days apart, with overnight smoking abstinence before use of each product.

Main outcome measures The primary outcome was change in desire to smoke, measured as “area under the curve” on an 11-point visual analogue scale before and at intervals over 1 h of use. Secondary outcomes included withdrawal symptoms, acceptability and adverse events. In nine participants, serum nicotine levels were also measured.

Results Over 60 min, participants using 16 mg ENDD recorded 0.82 units less desire to smoke than the placebo ENDD (p=0.006). No difference in desire to smoke was found between 16 mg ENDD and inhalator. ENDDs were more pleasant to use than inhalator (p=0.016) and produced less irritation of mouth and throat (p<0.001). On average, the ENDD increased serum nicotine to a peak of 1.3 ng/ml in 19.6 min, the inhalator to 2.1 ng/ml in 32 min and cigarettes to 13.4 ng/ml in 14.3 min.

Conclusions The 16 mg Ruyan V8 ENDD alleviated desire to smoke after overnight abstinence, was well tolerated and had a pharmacokinetic profile more like the Nicorette inhalator than a tobacco cigarette. Evaluation of the ENDD for longer-term safety, potential for long-term use and efficacy as a cessation aid is needed.

The trial was funded by Ruyan the manufacturer, through Health New Zealand Ltd as the NZ sponsor, and carried out by Clinical Trials Research Unit, University of Auckland.. Ruyan, the funder, had no influence on the design, analysis, results or conclusions.


Revised 13 April 2010

Critique of WHO Tobacco Regulation Committee report on electronic cigarettes

Health New Zealand Ltd sees potential in e-cigarettes, while WHO group sees them as a threat



1 March 2010

New nicotine cigarette gives rapid lung delivery of nicotine


After tests by Health New Zealand Ltd and Christchurch Clinical Studies Trust in Christchurch NZ in 2009, this product is now ready for commercialization as a smoking substitute or as a stop smoking medicine.

SRNT 2010_ PosterAbstract_ Rose.doc

This device was tested for Duke University (the patent holders), in 2009 on nine healthy smokers. Results were announced by Principal Investigator Dr Jed Rose, of Duke University at the 16th Annual Conference of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT), Baltimore, Maryland, USA on 27 February 2010. The inventors are Rose, his brother Dr Seth Rose, an organic chemistry professor; Dr Jim Turner, a co-inventor of the nicotine inhaler; and Dr Raju Murugesan, a pharmacologist at Duke. Dr Laugesen and Dr Chris Wynne of Christchurch Clinical Studies Trust were co-authors for this SRNT paper, entitled

Pulmonary delivery of Nicotine Pyruvate: Pharmacokinetic and Sensory Characteristics


The device depends on a chemical reaction at room temperature, with no heating or lighting up. The nicotine pyruvate cigarette is expected to reach the market by 2013 or 2015. It is yet to be manufactured and miniaturized down to the size of a tobacco cigarette. It is not an electronic cigarette. The smoker only inhales one molecule – nicotine pyruvate, which dissolves into nicotine and pyruvate on reaching the lungs.

Pyruvate is a normally found in the blood, and inhaling NP is not expected to raise this level appreciably

Nicotine levels will be raised briefly with every puff taken, though not as much as from smoking tobacco cigarettes.


To see the graph click on Plasma Nicotine Rise.ppt

Nine healthy smokers took 10 puffs over the first five minutes. When nicotine in plasma was measured by taking blood at the end of the 10th puff, the nicotine level in the plasma for NP 20 and NP 30 (nicotine pyruvate 20 and 30 micrograms per puff) increased to 5 to 8 ng per ml, a third to a half as high as with a regular tobacco cigarette, and as rapidly. The NP cigarette was less harsh and much more rapid in raising plasma nicotine. In contrast the NV (Medicinal nicotine inhaler) resulted in a much slower rise to 1 ng/mL after 35 minutes.


Maori Affairs Select Committee on the Inquiry into the tobacco industry in Aotearoa and the health consequences of tobacco use for Maori; Health NZ submission

Read the full submission at HNZSubmission_MASC_2010.pdf

Published on MASC website February 2010 at

The submission focuses on

  • The case for phasing out commercial cigarettes by 2020.
  • Findings and conclusions from Health New Zealand’s world leading research

on cigarettes and nicotine cigarette substitutes.



E-cigarettes need quality safeguards: Letter to British Medical Journal 22 January 2010

Murray Laugesen,
public health physician

Health New Zealand Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand 8082

Flouris and Oikonomou lament the lack of data on e-cigarette risks.[1] Apart from our 2008 poster cited [1], our further reports [2, 3] and extensive emissions data we gathered in 2009 show complete absence of most priority cigarette toxicants in e-cigarette liquid and mist. However, we only tested one brand (Ruyan, Beijing). And, as Flouris and Oikonomou point out, quality safeguards in manufacture are essential.

Even if testing showed all e-brands were less toxic than cigarettes, consumer safety requires quality control at site of manufacture, and monitoring to minimise the risk of adulteration. In 1990, propylene glycol, now used to create the mist in e-cigarettes, was adulterated by toxic diethylene glycol (DEG) with tragic results. As recently as 2007, US FDA found DEG in Chinese toothpaste at 3%,[4] and found DEG at 1% level in 2009 in one e-cigarette brand.[5] E-cigarettes need regulation imposed to safeguard their quality, so they can continue to provide an alternative to cigarette smoking.

Murray Laugesen, Public health physician, Health New Zealand Ltd.

1. Flouris AD, Dimitris N Oikonomou DN. Electronic cigarettes: miracle or menace? Letter. BMJ 2010;340:c311

2. Laugesen M. Safety report on Ruyan e-cigarette and cartridge. 30 October 2009.

3. Laugesen M. Ruyan e-cigarette bench-top tests. Poster. Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. Dublin April 2009.

4. Throw away Chinese toothpaste, FDA warns. Products may contain poisonous chemical used in antifreeze. Associated Press 1 June 2007.

5. Westenberger BJ. Evaluation of e-cigarettes. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis, St Louis, MO. US Food and Drug Administration. 2009.

Competing interests: Research contract with Ruyan during 2008, but no financial interest in Ruyan.


Health New Zealand 2010