Wellington’s vaping ban disappointing
Wellington City Council’s decision today to make vaping part of its Smokefree Action Plan is disappointing and will do nothing to move the country closer to Smoke Free 2025, says the co-owner of New Zealand’s largest vaping business.
Wellington City Council’s City Strategy Committee deferred its decision on vaping on 7 March to seek advice. Today it reconvened and decided to include vaping as part of the capital’s smokefree outdoor areas and beaches.
Kiwi vaping entrepreneur Jonathan Devery of vaping and e-cigarette companies VAPO and Alt says the Wellington ban follows other moves by councils up and down the country. However, he says banning vaping is completely misguided, not supported by evidence, with Wellington’s decision-making clearly more about emotion.
“I would’ve expected more from our capital city that prides itself on being progressive and a strong proponent for public health. It’s clear that some councillors still confuse smoking with vaping. Subsequently they’re demonising the most effective tool there is for smokers to give up cigarettes,” says Mr Devery.
He says Hamilton not Wellington is the city showing leadership. Just last week the Hamilton City Council voted to keep vaping out of the city’s Smokefree And Vapefree Outdoor Areas Policy and Smokefree Plan.
Mr Devery says there’s ample international evidence that shows vaping is at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes and nearly twice as effective for those wanting to give up smoking than nicotine-replacement products. While Public Health England research last year concluded ‘there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to by-standers’.
“Switching from smoking to vaping has substantial health benefits and is key to Smoke Free 2025 – something the Ministry of Health, health pressure group ASH, Quitline New Zealand, and public health organisation Hapai Te Hauora all openly acknowledge.
“If Wellington City Council really wants to contribute to Smoke Free 2025 they should not have banned a practice that gives New Zealand its best chance of being tobacco free. They would’ve been better to encourage the likes of better vaping etiquette in public and stay singularly focused on fighting smoking,” says Mr Devery.