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E-cigarette trial seeks smokers
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	<strong>By RUTH HILL - The Dominion Post | Thursday, 10 January 2008<br />
	An electronic cigarette that gives smokers their nicotine hit without the other harmful ingredients in tobacco smoke might help them beat their addiction, scientists say.</strong></p>
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	Auckland University researchers are recruiting 48 smokers who want to quit to take part in a world-first trial of the &quot;e-cigarette&quot;.</p>
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	Hayden McRobbie, from the university&#39;s clinical trials research unit, said the e-cigarette, which is sold over the Internet by a Chinese company for $200, is marketed at present as an alternative to smoking rather than a tool to stop smoking.</p>
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	&quot;But we think it might actually prove more effective than currently available nicotine-replacement treatments, such as patches and gum, because smoking is not just a chemical addiction - it&#39;s behavioural.&quot;</p>
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	The device is &quot;smoked&quot; like a normal cigarette, and even glows at the tip when the smoker draws on it.</p>
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	A vaporiser device delivers a measured dose of nicotine in a mist.</p>
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	&quot;Ex-smokers often say they miss the ritual of smoking; the e-cigarette gives them something to do with their hands.&quot;</p>
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	Dr McRobbie said the &quot;quit or die&quot; message was not working for many smokers, who knew the dangers but were powerless against their craving.</p>
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	&quot;We need to look at alternatives to help people. While nicotine is the addictive ingredient in cigarettes, it&#39;s the tars, carbon monoxide and other chemicals, that cause heart and lung diseases and kills 4500 New Zealanders each year.&quot;</p>
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	Researchers hope to have the study completed by March.</p>
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	Meanwhile, another research project - a joint study with the Auckland University of Technology - will examine smokers&#39; signature &quot;rasps&quot;, and whether they improve after quitting.</p>
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	While that husky, gravelly sound is beloved by aficionados of blues music, many smokers hate the way smoking deepens and thickens their voices.</p>
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	&quot;If researchers can detect a change in voice quality, they may also be able to use this technology to monitor the outcome of stop-smoking studies, making it easier to test new ways to help smokers quit.&quot;</p>
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