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Refreshing Attitudes to Ecigs in NZ

Refreshing Attitudes to Ecigs in NZ: New Zealand moves in the right direction as vaping attitudes change

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While some countries are moving to effectively ban vaping, New Zealand is set to embrace electronic cigarettes by making them legal for the first time. It’s a ground-breaking move that has been welcomed by anti-smoking campaigners and members of the medical fraternity.

End Smoking NZ applauds the Government on its decision to make nicotine for vaping (using electronic cigarettes) legally available in New Zealand,” they write in a press release. “The Government has agreed in principle that nicotine for e-cigarettes should be legally available for sale with appropriate controls. Currently it can only be imported for personal use creating often insurmountable barriers preventing smokers from switching to vaping.”

End Smoking’s chairperson applauded the move: “The Associate Minister of Health, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has made the right decision. He has listened with compassion to smokers and vapers. We are so relieved that our pragmatic nature as a country has triumphed over the negative misinformation and unfounded fears that have dominated the debate for too long.”

Not everybody is happy, of course. Commenting on Big Tobacco’s growing involvement with vaping, Otago University’s Richard Edwards opined: “It may mean it's a way for them to get more influence over governments, and policy and so on, by appearing to be not so bad after all. They're still trying to prevent effective policies to reduce the harm caused by smoking. So that's why I don't think there's any evidence that the tobacco industry has changed its spots.”

It is difficult to estimate how many vapers there are in New Zealand as what they’ve been doing has been illegal. There is no doubting the positive effect the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England’s reports have had, hopefully this will spin off to New Zealand’s near neighbours.

Doctorr Harry Pert of Ranolf Medical Centre, Rotorua, also welcomed the step forward by citing the British reports: “Evidence suggests they are about 95 per cent safer than cigarettes. They haven't been around long enough for us to know how safe they are. There is always a bit of a caution around new products.”

Pert poured cold water on any suggestion that legalizing vaping would introduce non-smokers to a nicotine habit. “There doesn't seem to be many non-smokers taking up vaping,” he continued, “but there is growing evidence smokers find it useful to help them quit.”

It’s a position echoed by End Smoking NZ: “Some public health researchers and advocates in New Zealand and around the world have concerns that vaping will re-normalise smoking, be a gateway to smoking, and establish nicotine addiction among new users. However, there is no evidence that this is occurring in countries where vaping is established.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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