Risk/Benefit Evaluation of NVP's
The Government has asked the Australian GP community to preside over the introduction of NVPs as a new unapproved medicine. This will start at significant scale from October 2021.
There are no obvious precedents in medicine for what is likely to prove a challenge for GPs, even while it represents a unique opportunity to utilise NVPs in treating one of the most intractable health problems of our times.
A clear picture on the safety and efficacy of NVPs is not available because the evidence around both has derived from:
- Markets in which products are regulated as consumer goods;
- Heterogeneous product typology, due to rapid innovation since the technology’s introduction, and little, if any, regulatory oversight in its early history; and
- Regulatory contexts that differ between countries, with disagreements amongst the global research community as to what should even count as evidence .
In short, the literature does not provide a clear path towards satisfactory answers.
Nevertheless, there are fundamental areas in which consensus exists, which can guide judicious clinical decision making, ensuring a focus on patient safety.
Understanding nicotine delivery
- The nicotine concentration of any e-liquid offers limited predictive power as to the delivery of nicotine to a user.
- The amount of e-liquid that is turned into an aerosol for a given puff depends on the device, and principally the power at which it operates.
- In this way, a low concentration liquid can deliver very high levels of nicotine per puff, exceeding that of cigarettes.