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Porirua’s vaping ban missed opportunity

Porirua City is set to expand its smokefree areas to include beaches, the city centre and all council-owned and managed sites. The ban will also include vaping and e-cigarettes which disappoints one leading Kiwi vaping entrepreneur, describing the move as completely misguided and not supported by evidence.

The Porirua City Council’s updated Smokefree Outdoor Public Places Policy has been recommended by the City Delivery Committee. It will go to the full council for adoption tomorrow – 17 April.

Jonathan Devery, director of Vapo and Alt, says the Porirua vaping ban follows similar moves by other councils. However given the ongoing smoking epidemic in Porirua the local council should be thinking more laterally and treating vaping as a help not a hinderance.

“Porirua claims their policy will contribute to the Government’s national goal of Smoke Free 2025 but banning vaping won’t help one person quit smoking. It’s a shame because Porirua has a higher smoking rate than the national average, with 17% still smoking.”

Porirua’s decision to include vaping in its smokefree policy follows Wellington City Council recently making vaping part of its Smokefree Action Plan.

The co-owner of New Zealand’s largest vaping business says Hamilton, not Porirua or Wellington, is the city showing real civic leadership. Just last month the Hamilton City Council voted to keep vaping out of the city’s smokefree policy and plan.

Ample international evidence 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’.

Mr Devery says before voting Porirua councillors should study Auckland Council’s Smokefree Action Plan approved last week. One of its three activity streams is titled ‘Switch to quit’ which recognises that vaping is a legitimate tool to help established smokers quit.

“Switching from smoking to vaping has substantial health benefits and is key to achieving Smoke Free 2025 – something the Ministry of Health, health pressure group ASH, Quitline New Zealand, and public health organisation Hapai Te Hauora also openly acknowledge.

“At the same time several District Health Boards have embraced vaping products as an alternative to smoking which has been really effective for individuals participating within the DHBs smoking cessation clinics. Sadly, however, the Porirua City Council is about banish the best tool in the tool box,” he says.

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