Kiwi tobacco controllers are celebrating the news that Netflix has been forced into reducing the number of scenes depicting smoking, all thanks to the sterling efforts of anti-vape pressure group The Truth Initiative.
This occurred as the Crown accounts released by the Treasury demonstrated a fall of $700 million, made up of a 47.8% decline in duty raised from tobacco.
“This latest slump in tobacco tax collected was much bigger than expected, and vaping can take a lot of the credit for New Zealand’s declining rates of smoking over the past decade. However, if the proposed vaping regulations come into force vaping will be made a lot less attractive for smokers desperate to quit cigarettes. More Kiwis continuing to smoke might help Government revenue, but it won’t help reduce New Zealand smoking’s death rate of 5,000 people per annum,” said AVCA(1) co-director Nancy Loucas.
The Government passed its vaping legislation last year and the Ministry of Health was taking public comments on its draft vaping regulations up to last week. It is proposing that general retailers like supermarkets, service stations and convenience stores, will have vape flavours limited to just mint, menthol, and tobacco. The flavour limitations would come into effect on 11 August 2021.
“We know vapers quit smoking with fruit and dessert flavours. Adults love flavours and need them to be available everywhere cigarettes are sold. That would make common-sense right?”
She says some believe limiting flavours for grownups will somehow save the kids, but that logic is seriously misguided,” Loucas added.
“Children are protected as much as possible with vaping products now heavily sanctioned R18. Significant penalties apply if retailers breach that, and like with alcohol and cigarettes, retailers will take the privilege incredibly seriously.”
AVCA has called on both new Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall and new Health Select Committee Dr Liz Craig to look again at restricting the availability of e-liquid flavours.
“MPs spend their lives trying to avoid laws with unintended consequences. Well, if this Government limits access to popular vape flavours for adults, then there’s every chance our smoking rates will start creeping up again. That would be a terrible public health outcome. Forty years ago, one in three adults smoked in New Zealand, now it’s down to about one in eight. Smokefree will be achieved when New Zealand reaches just one in 20 smoking or fewer. Getting Kiwis off the cancer sticks has been hugely successful. Let’s not now throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
- Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy - www.avca.org.nz