Clearing the air on electronic cigarettes

ELECTRONIC cigarettes are becoming the most popular quitting aid for Australian smokers, but health experts are finding a lack of research has allowed questionable information to be peddled through the wrong channels.

Researchers from the University of New England are looking for smokers to take part in a study, which they hope will help clear the air on e-cigs and provide evidence about how effective they really are in the fight to give up for good.

On Tuesday UNE associate psychology professor John Malouff said he found the concept of electronic cigarettes, which offer a vapour as a nicotine replacement and a tool to meet addicted smokers' physical habits, "intriguing".

"In the very immediate sense, the e-cigarette is about harm minimisation - you're still smoking but you're taking all those poisonous tars out of the equation," Mr Malouff said.

"Then, as you feel stronger, you can reduce the nicotine intake and regularity of you e-cig habit."

While the concept sounds simple, and buying and owning an e-cig is perfectly legal, a lack of legislation surrounds the sale of the nicotine-based vapour.

Mr Malouff said the study's goal was to show smokers how to properly use e-cigs with written and video instructions.

Participants will be asked to complete brief questionnaires to give researchers an idea of their progress.

Click here to find out more about the study