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Access is Better than Tax Hikes

A study looking at the situation in New Zealand reveals opening up access to alternative nicotine products is more effective than tax hikes on vape products when it comes to smoking cessation

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A study looking at the situation in New Zealand reveals opening up access to alternative nicotine products is more effective than tax hikes on vape products when it comes to smoking cessation. The report conclusively found that vapes accelerated the rate of smoking cessation in the country.

Smoke Free Sweden says that according to the report, the number of daily smokers in New Zealand has declined by 154,000 since 2020/21. As the report notes, this corresponds with the increased uptake of e-cigarette use in the country, with the number of vapers outnumbering the number of smokers in 2022.

The report also found that since July 2019, no hospitalisations in New Zealand have reported vaping as a primary diagnosis.

These numbers are in spite of the fact that tobacco taxes have increased in New Zealand by 118% between April 2010 and January 2023.

Dr Delon Human, leader of the Smoke Free Sweden initiative and former Health Advisor to three WHO Directors-General, said: “New Zealand has shown that providing smokers with access to alternative products is a better solution than increased taxes on tobacco products”.

This situation correlates with trends seen in Sweden, which is on track to record a 5% smoking level.

Sweden is set to become the first EU country to achieve this milestone – 17 years ahead of schedule – through its policy of making vapes and pouches available, acceptable, and affordable to adult smokers.

Compared to the rest of Europe, Sweden has 44% fewer tobacco-related deaths, a cancer rate that is 41% lower, and 38% fewer deaths attributable to any cancer.

Dr Human concluded: “As we approach COP10, we are calling on policymakers to look at data from both Sweden and New Zealand. These examples show that making alternative, reduced harm products accessible to consumers can be life-saving.”

Smoke Free Sweden says it is a campaign which encourages other countries to follow the Swedish model when it comes to Tobacco Harm Reduction, based on the fact that Sweden is set to become Europe’s first ‘smoke-free’ country this year, with a smoking rate of below 5 percent.

Smoke Free Sweden says: “This is a huge achievement, and will be 17 years ahead of the 2040 EU target. This can be attributed to Sweden’s open attitude towards alternative products.”


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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