This Committee has been established to provide guidance and advice on the project.

The Electronic Cigarettes Working Committee (the Committee) is an advisory committee established under section 39 of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992.

Appointment Process for the Committee

Appointments to the Committee were made with consideration of the expertise required including research skills, epidemiology and smoking cessation knowledge. Other considerations included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, consumer representation, jurisdictional distribution, gender balance and panel size.

Terms of Reference

The Committee will oversee and provide expertise for the update of the 2017 NHMRC CEO Statement: Electronic Cigarettes. The updated Statement will reflect the best available evidence and be relevant for consumers and policy makers. It will support the health of all Australians by assisting consumers and policy makers in understanding the current evidence relevant to the marketing and use of e-cigarettes and their impacts on individual and population health.

In undertaking the update, the Committee will:

  1. Determine the scope of the update based on consideration of the currency, accuracy and relevance of the 2017 CEO Statement and other topics such as:
    • the direct health risks that e-cigarette products (including devices and liquids) may pose to users and non-users (with and without nicotine);
    • the impact of e-cigarettes on smoking cessation;
    • the impact of e-cigarettes on smoking initiation and continuation;
    • dual use of e-cigarettes and conventional tobacco products;
    • product safety; 
    • e-cigarette related advertising and promotional activities and measures; 
    • conflicts of interest that may bias research findings related to e-cigarettes; and
    • key gaps in the evidence.
  2. Guide the development of an evaluation of the evidence, including providing advice on the research protocol/questions, e-cigarette marketing and use and health outcomes of interest. This includes considering feedback received from methodological review of the draft research protocol and draft evidence evaluation report.
  3. Consider the outcomes of the evidence evaluation, and use these findings, in addition to other information as advised by NHMRC1 , to inform the development of an:
    • evidence evaluation report that synthesises the evidence and identifies critical gaps in the current evidence base and
    • updated CEO Statement.
  4. Consider feedback received during targeted consultation and independent expert review on the draft Statement.

The Committee will be effective for the period 9 June 2020 to 4 September 2021, and will report to the Council of NHMRC. Contact the Electronic Cigarettes Working Committee

Postal address:
Public Health Team
National Health and Medical Research Council
GPO Box 1421
Canberra ;ACT 2601
Email address: publichealth@nhmrc.gov.au

Please note: Members of the Electronic Cigarettes Working Committee are unable to respond to individual enquiries.

1 This additional information may include, but is not limited to evidence and position statements from other countries, including the WHO and the United States National Academies of Science and Engineering in Medicine (NASEM) review; the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) 2019 evidence statements and report; the Commonwealth Scientific Investigation and Research Organisation (CSIRO) Review released in 2018; and relevant reports from the United States Surgeon General

Member Information and Disclosure of Interests

NHMRC asked each Working Committee member to document their interests, as part of the process of the establishment of any NHMRC committee. Members were asked to consider perceived interests as well as real interests.

Members were specifically asked to identify, to the best of their ability, work associated with the update to the CEO Statement including:

  • relevant financial interests;
  • relevant professional or organisational experience; and
  • other relationships or activities.

Throughout the project, members are required to inform NHMRC of any changes to their interests, and management strategies are put in place as needed.

This process is guided by NHMRC’s Policy on the Disclosure of Interests Requirements for Prospective and Appointed NHMRC Committee Members. This policy in turn reflects the disclosure of interest requirements in section 42A of the NHMRC Act and subsection 29(2) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

NHMRC Electronic Cigarettes Working Committee: Summary of members’ experience, expertise and disclosures

Associate Professor
Catherine
Chamberlain

Associate Professor, Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University

Dr Chamberlain is a Cochrane review author and tobacco researcher who has worked on several reviews and Cochrane editorial. Similarly, she has Authored and Co-authored numerous Cochrane Systematic Reviews and papers on smoking cessation, tobacco funding in research, and cessation interventions.

Catherine has over 25 years’ experience in reproductive and child health, including program and hospital service management, policy implementation, guideline development and evidence-based research.

Her expertise and research areas include Indigenous peoples, Perinatal health, and Public health, Transforming Human Societies, Understanding Disease and Equity.

Declaration

  • Receives an NHMRC ECF (2015-2018) and CDF (2019-2022) and CI on two NHMRC grants, including CIA (2018-2021). Aims around evidence-based life-course approach to improving health equity in the perinatal period.
  • Lead author for a Cochrane Systematic Review (CSR) on Psychosocial Interventions to Promote Smoking Cessation in Pregnancy; a second author on a CSR on Pharmacological Interventions to Promote Smoking Cessation in Pregnancy (which includes e-cigarettes).
  • Previously received funding from the Australian Department of Health, NHMRC, UK NIHR and WHO, to assist in updating these reviews.
  • Author on several Cochrane reviews and Cochrane editorial on ‘Can Cochrane reviews help to improve Indigenous health?’
  • Has been an invited expert reviewer for “Behavioural Counselling and Pharmacotherapy Interventions for Tobacco Cessation in Adults, including Pregnant Women: A Review of Reviews for the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. 2015” which included e-cigarettes.
  • Co-author on a paper on tobacco control

Professor
Dallas
English

Chair of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Director, Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne. 

Professor English is a Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Centre of Epidemiology and Biostatics at the University of Melbourne.

Dallas works part time at Cancer Council Victoria, which is affiliated with Cancer Council Australia.

Professor English has held a number of national and international research grants and published numerous research articles. His research areas include epidemiology, cancer epidemiology and cancer screening.
 

Declaration

  • Employed Part Time with Cancer Council Victoria, which is affiliated with Cancer Council Australia.
  • Cancer Council Australia recommends that the retail sale of non-nicotine electronic cigarettes be banned, the smoke free laws in each state and territory cover electronic cigarette use, and that advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes be banned.
  • States that he was not involved in developing the Cancer Council recommendation on e-cigarettes, and has not been involved in the area of e-cigarettes at the Cancer Council and has not published any personal opinions on e-cigarettes and is not bound by the recommendations made by the Cancer Council.

Dr
Becky
Freeman

Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney.

Dr Freeman has 19 years of experience working in the tobacco control field and is well versed in program and policy best practice. 

Becky in an established authority on the potential of the internet to circumvent tobacco advertising bans and has pioneered research methods in tracking and analysing online social media content. 

Her primary research interests include tobacco control, obesity prevention, and the influence of online and social media on public health. 
 

Declaration

  • Received consulting payment for the preparation of e-cigarette policy review for the NSW National Heart Foundation and Consulting payment from the Cancer Council Australia to update evidence for position statement of e-cigarettes. Consulting fees received from Australian health NGOs for the preparation of e-cigarette evidence and policy reviews.
  • Lead the Prevention Research Collaboration University of Sydney team that prepared a discussion paper and public health expert consultation on e-cigarette regulation in Australia for the Commonwealth Department of Health.
  • Attended a conference and presented on e cigarette regulation where travel expenses were reimbursed by the Asian Center for WTO & International Health Law and Policy, National Taiwan University, College of Law.
  • Presented a plenary on evidence that e-cigarettes support smoking cessation at the Oceania Tobacco Control Conference 2017, for which travel expenses (flight and registration) were reimbursed.
  • Held a 2015-2019 NHMRC ECR fellowship which included an exploration of e-cigarette advertising and media.
  • Provided opinion (unpaid) at Australian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport public hearing into the Use and Marketing of Electronic Cigarettes and Personal Vaporisers on 8 September 2017.
  • Authored a number of articles about e-cigarettes and tobacco control in peer review journals and other publications.

Professor
Matthew
Peters

Respiratory Physician and Head of Respiratory Medicine at Concord Hospital 

Professor Peters has long had an interest in preventative health and is the past President of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand. As well as holding academic appointments at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney, he was Chair of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) for many years and in 2019 was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to medical education. 

His research interests include respiratory physiology and the pulmonary and cardiac responses to hypoxia.  
 

Declaration

  • Member of the Expert Advisory Group for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners smoking cessation clinical practice guidelines. The Guidelines included a section on Electronic Cigarettes.
  • Co-chair of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand Working Group that developed the TSANZ position statement on Electronic Cigarettes
  • Received honoraria for Advisory Board membership for GSK in relation to asthma and COPD products. GSK is separately a manufacturer of smoking cessation products.
  • Lectured in Melbourne at a closed meeting, organised and supported by Pfizer. Topic of the lecture was Benefits of Smoking Cessation. Necessary travel and accommodation was provided, however offered honorarium was declined.
  • Has published a number of peer-reviewed and other publications over the past 10 years relevant to tobacco control, electronic cigarettes and smoking cessation.
     

Professor
Margaret
Otlowski

Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tasmania

Professor Otlowski is an established health scholar, and in 2015 was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She has published extensively in the field and has been engaged by Commonwealth and State Governments and agencies to consult and be a member for various committees, including two NHMRC principal committees (2009-2015) the Australian Health Ethics Committee and the Human Genetics Advisory Committee. 

She serves as the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, Culture and Wellbeing and has had extensive quasi-judicial experience as a member of the Commonwealth Social Security Appeals Tribunal, the Tasmanian Guardianship and Administration Board, and the Tasmania Anti-Discrimination Tribunal. 
 

Declaration

  • Chief Investigator on NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence (2017-2021) for ‘From Discovery to Therapy in Genetic Eye Disease’.

Professor
David
Thomas

Professor, Wellbeing and Preventable Chronic Diseases Division, Menzies School of Health Research

Professor Thomas has worked in Indigenous health and health research for 30 years. He has worked as a doctor for three Aboriginal community controlled health services, and established and led the Tobacco Control Research Program at Menzies since 2007.

He has completed research in many aspects of Indigenous tobacco control including Cochrane reviews, qualitative research, and RCTs, evaluations of local and national policies and projects, and monitoring smoking trends. Similarly, he is actively involved in the translation of research into policy.

Declaration

  • Worked in the development of a related guideline (which mentions e-cigarettes and the previous NHMRC CEO Statement): Thomas DP, Abbot P. Smoking. In: National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. National guide to a preventative health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 3rd edn. East Melbourne, Vic: RACGP, 2018. Pg10-11;
  • Author of peer reviewed publications on tobacco control  
  • Delivered speeches on Indigenous tobacco control, smoking and e-cigarettes.

Associate Professor
Richard
Brightwell

Health Consumers Council, Western Australia 

Associate Professor Brightwell is a retired academic who concentrates on consumer health representation and effective consumer advocacy. 

His area of interest is in prevention of health deficit and smoking cessation, and he has been a consumer representative on a number of state and federal government committees.
 

Declaration

  • Consumer representative on the Review Reference Group, Post-market Review of Medicines for Smoking Cessation. Initial meeting is upcoming, however no business/work as part of the group has commenced yet.

Dr
Kerry
Nugent

Principal Scientist, Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS) (previously the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, NICNAS) 

Dr Nugent has a PhD in Chemistry and focuses on toxicology, particularly the role of chemistry in toxicological responses. 
As a career highlight, he developed and managed the NICNAS IMAP program, and was involved in international activities to increase the availability of risk-based information on chemicals.   

Declaration

  • Member of the Advisory Committee on Chemical Scheduling, which is involved in setting present and future government standards on chemicals potentially in e cigarettes.

Associate Professor
 Renee
Bittoun

Associate Professor, Medicine, University of Notre Dame Australia.

Associate Professor Bittoun is recognised internationally as an expert in smoking cessation and has worked in the field for 30 years. 

She is an inaugural member of the International Society for Research in Nicotine and Tobacco and started one of the world’s first Smokers’ Clinics at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.

As well as being a clinical consultant to various facilities and health groups, she is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the international peer-reviewed Journal of Smoking Cessation, published by Cambridge University Press.

Declaration

  • Founding Editor in Chief of The Journal of Smoking Cessation, Cambridge University Press. Review and directs Journal Articles regarding Smoking Cessation.
  • Teaches “Nicotine Addiction and Smoking Cessation” courses, Federal, State Health, Indigenous Health Services, Drug and Alcohol Services, University of Sydney’s Woolcock Institute, University of Notre Dame Australia, Schools of Medicine, Avondale University College and Lifestyle Medicine.
  • Publicly debated views on E-cigarettes and spoken at Doctor forums
  • Supervised Research in Tobacco Use: Smoking Cessation in Pregnancy Tobacco Use in the Pacific
  • Research in Smoking Cessation in Drug and Alcohol Services

Professor
Nick
Zwar

Executive Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Bond University.

Professor Zwar has 30 years clinical experience as a general practitioner, and continues to work part time while being the Executive Dean at the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine at Bond University. 

His research interests include the prevention and management of chronic illness, with a focus on respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Similarly, he is interested in tobacco control, health promotion in primary care, immunisation and travel health.  

Declaration

  •  The Chair of the Expert Advisory Group for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Smoking Cessation Clinical Practice Guidelines. The Guidelines included a section on electronic cigarettes. 
  • The Co-Chair of the Australian Professional Society for Alcohol and other Drugs, Smoking Cessation Special Interest Group.
  • Associate investigator on NHMRC funded study of adding nicotine containing e-cigarettes to behavioural treatment for low socio-economic group smokers.