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Government needs to act to meet Smokefree 2025

The Health and Maori Affairs Select Committees received a blunt message yesterday – act now or we will fail to meet our Smokefree by 2025 goal, National MP Nicky Wagner says.

“Yesterday’s meeting heard from organisations that are working to end smoking in New Zealand, and we were told that unless we act now and improve access to harm reduction tools such as vaping we will not meet our Smokefree by 2025 goal.

“The Government needs to adopt my Smoke-free Environments (Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes) Amendment Bill which is currently in the ballot.

“It would legalise the sale of vaping products containing nicotine to be sold to people aged 18 years and over.

“This Bill would assist long-term, daily smokers to quit by improving access to less harmful alternatives such as vaping which is 90 per cent less harmful than tobacco smoke.

“Representatives of Hapai te Hauora, ASH, the Cancer Society, Aspire 2025, Takiri Mai Te Ata and T&T Consulting outlined progress since the Maori Affairs Select Committee established the Smokefree by 2025 goal.

“Statistics show that while 16 per cent of the population smoke, rates are still much higher within the Pasifika and Māori populations with rates at 25 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. An even more alarming statistic shows that 45 per cent of Māori women smoke through pregnancy.

“These figures are not good enough – the Government must offer an alternative that reduces the harm this is causing urgently and provide legal access to vaping to help smokers quit.

“The previous National Government announced that it would legalise vaping with appropriate controls this year but this Government has put the brakes on and is wasting time unnecessarily.

“My Bill also prohibits vaping in smoke free areas so it would not normalise vaping as a socially acceptable habit and ensure that it is seen as a tool to help people quit.”

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