“A huge opportunity has been missed to make risk-reduced vaping products more accessible to smokers in order to reach the SmokeFree 2025 goal set by government,” said Nancy Loucas, AVCA’s director.
AVCA was formed in 2016 by vapers across New Zealand wanting their voices heard in local and central government and is clear of any affiliation or vested interest in industry. All of the members are former smokers who promote vaping to help smokers quit.
“It is unfathomable that the select committee was so blinded by the emotive rhetoric about perceptions of youth vaping, that they refused to acknowledge the actual facts and statistics relative to New Zealand and youth smoking and vaping rates,” she added.
The comment came following the Kiwi Parliament’s Health Select Committee tabling its report on the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill.
“The Government’s bill to regulate vaping won’t bring New Zealand any closer to its smokefree ambition, unless MPs now get in behind the many submitters and intervene to drive down the country’s smoking rates,” said VTANZ spokesperson Jonathan Devery.
“The hundreds who submitted, calling for changes to help more Kiwis quit smoking, are really disappointed. What’s more, 200,000 adult vapers in New Zealand are set to be unnecessarily inconvenienced - so much so that without easy access to a specialist vape store, to buy their preferred flavours, many will sadly return to smoking.”
AVCA and VTANZ pressed upon legislators that fruit, dessert, and sweet flavour variations are the most popular for adults and key to smokers switching, but the Health Select Committee has stuck by the Government’s proposal to limit vape flavours to just three - menthol, mint and tobacco for all general retailers.
“Alarmingly, New Zealand taxpayers will soon solely be expected to fund vaping messages. Given how stretched the public purse is, it’s madness the industry isn’t allowed to use our own private profits to fund advertisements, promoting vaping as a smoking cessation tool, in a heavily regulated way. It works well in the UK, but won’t be allowed here,” continued Mr. Devery.
“We wholeheartedly support the product safety measures, protecting our youth, and the tough R18 restrictions. However, making the most popular adult flavours available through some retailers but not others, and having taxpayers fund the merits of vaping, not the private sector, makes little sense.”
Ms. Loucas added: “They can’t believe the disconnect between their experiences of switching to vaping and the recommendations in the report. For many living in the likes of rural areas, the wide availability of flavours via general and online-only retailers has been key to them getting off smokes. Others are in disbelief over the lack of consideration of statistics proving there is no youth epidemic here in New Zealand.”
“These vaping regulations, as they remain, represent a missed opportunity. They fail to give Kiwi smokers as many options as possible to get off the death sticks. They also fail whanau and tamariki to be free from the harm of combustible tobacco so they can have their koros and kuias around for the long haul.”