Ex-smoker backlash builds against vaping flavour ban
Monday, 16 September 2019
“Kiwi ex-smokers are mobilising against the Government’s plans to drastically limit vaping flavours. Flavours have been key to them quitting tobacco and they now just want other smokers to have the same chance,” says Jonathan Devery, co-owner of Alt New Zealand and Vapo – the largest Kiwi-owned vaping business.
His comments follow Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa announcing last week that the Government was keen to ban all flavours in e-liquids except tobacco, menthol and mint. The move would form part of the Government’s legislation set to be introduced in Parliament to regulate vaping in New Zealand.
“This flavour ban comes off the back of hospitalisations in the US due to illegal THC and thickening agents being vaped. Let’s not forget that these overseas incidents had nothing to do with flavours or regulated vaping products. Thus, we implore the Government to do the research before it rushes to react by statute.”
Mr Devery says the groundswell by ex-smokers against the proposed flavour restrictions has been swift and universal across social media.
A Facebook site ‘Kiwis Against The Flavour Ban’ was set up late last week attracting over 1,000 members in its first two days. The site invites ex-smokers to share their stories about how flavours have played an important role in helping them transition from smoking to vaping at www.facebook.com/groups/414222635837853/
“The personal stories are incredibly compelling. I just hope the Government takes the time to reflect on what so many Kiwi ex-smokers are saying. Vaping is the country’s most effective smoking cessation tool, with the availability of flavours absolutely critical in getting so many long-time and heavy smokers off tobacco,” he says
A typical example of a personalised post on the dedicated Facebook site reads: ‘I smoked for 27 years. I quit using fruit flavoured e-liquid. #AdultsLikeFlavours #ProhibitionDoesNotWork.’
The vaping entrepreneur, and his business partner Ben Pryor, fear that banning most flavours would only result in some Kiwis reaching for clandestine and illegal attempts to flavour e-liquid which would lead to product safety issues.
“New Zealand’s falling smoking rate has been helped considerably by the likes of fruit and dessert flavours in vaping. The idea of now banning the most successful and attractive flavours on the market for ex-smokers makes no sense whatsoever, says Jonathan Devery.