“It’s encouraging to hear her sense of urgency and support for vaping as a smoking cessation tool. However, it’s a little alarming to hear that debate still rages inside the Government on the future availability of vape products and to what degree vaping regulations should mirror the country’s zero-tolerance smoking regime,” says Ben Pryor, spokesperson for VTANZ.
“Restricting access to cigarettes should be the primary goal of the Government, not restricting access to a product that has been proven to be the best smoking cessation method ever. If the Government gets too tough on vaping availability and appeal for adult smokers, international examples show it will only result in smoking rates rising and a dangerous unregulated black market emerging,” he says.
Mr Pryor’s comments follow an interview with the Prime Minister on NewstalkZB, where host Mike Hosking asked her when she would move on vaping regulation.
The Prime Minister confirmed the Government was “doing the work as we speak. My understanding is that it’s not too far away… The complexity of course is we have an existing regime for tobacco and the question and the debate exists around how much you have your vaping regime absolutely mirror tobacco, or not. If it’s a device that we want to use for people to quit smoking then you treat it in a particular way, rather than just having it as something that’s widely available and people might take up in its own right. I think our goal should be to help it as a tool to stop smoking not as something people individually take up.”
Despite the Prime Minister unable to confirm whether it would be before Christmas, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa is set to introduce the Smoke-free Environments (Vaping) Amendment Bill into Parliament. Ms Salesa has already indicated that the Government will restrict marketing and ban the most successful flavours for adults.
This year the Government launched a ‘vape-to-quit-smoking’ public information campaign, with the Ministry of Health, Health Promotion Agency and many other public health entities continuing to be very supportive of smokers switching to considerably safer vaping.
“We are all for mandatory high safety standards, R18 sales, and against youth marketing. However, if the Government wants to keep driving down smoking rates, it needs to take a closer look at the good work its own Ministry of Health is doing, as well as all the supportive scientific evidence.”
“Here’s hoping that New Zealand’s smokefree ambition is not going to be killed off by some Beehive debate focused more on emotion and the election,” says Ben Pryor.
- The Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand – [link]