Are e-cigarettes going to be massive blow to the tobacco industry, or do they actually keep people smoking?
A new study funded by the Health Research Council that uses high-tech electronic cigarettes hopes to answer those questions.
Researchers will use real-time data from bluetooth-equipped e-cigarettes to get information about users smoking habits over two months.
The smart e-cigs will collect detailed information such as puff duration, frequency of use and nicotine intake which will then be combined with an app-based questionnaire about tobacco smoking.
Lead researcher Professor Janet Hoek from the University of Otago says the information will create a better understanding of how and if e-cigarettes really affect smoking.
"While there is general agreement that e-cigarettes are safer than combustible tobacco, smokers will only achieve substantial risk reductions if they switch completely from smoking to using e-cigarettes," Professor Hoek said.
"Our current understanding of the transition between smoking and e-cigarette use is poor, and we lack the data needed to assess whether dual use is a transitional behaviour that supports smoking cessation, or a sustained behaviour pattern that promotes continued tobacco use."
The study is intended to be part of a larger body of work looking at getting New Zealand smoke-free by 2025.
HRC Chief Executive Professor Kath McPherson said with the popularity of e-cigarettes around the world growing, how effective they were was quickly becoming a hot topic.