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Update On The Battle For Vaping Continues In The Capital.

Update On The Battle For Vaping Continues In The Capital.

Wellington Vapers Community has asked AVCA (Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy), a recently formed vapers advocacy group, to assist them with their issues with Wellington City Council (WCC) and the inclusion of vaping in the SmokeFree bylaws per a vote in April 2016. Since that time, WVC as a group, and individual vapers have had back and forth correspondence with the Council and the Ministry of Health (MoH) to ascertain what exactly was the reasoning behind the inclusion and how this may, in future, affect the status of those who use electronic cigarettes in public, in both Wellington and New Zealand.

Nancy Sutthoff, director of AVCA stated “It is on odd situation in that WCC stated they based their decision on information and guidance from MoH; yet MoH stated that they were not directly consulted and did not offer any advice directly upon the issue.” Sutthoff went further, “In all the correspondence back and forth, you can see that WCC was handing off the responsibility of answering vapers in Wellington to MoH. MoH responded with a form letter that refers vapers to an online article repository that is used by the pharmaceutical industry, and contains no recent information on vaping post 2014. What is interesting is it seems that MoH is choosing to ignore the Public Health UK and Royal College of Physicians reports that electronic cigarettes are safer than tobacco smoking but also a more effective means of getting smokers off combustible tobacco than the standard NRT (patches, pills, gum, lozenges) that is currently on offer here in New Zealand.”

Steve Dohmen, co-director of AVCA, believes the main focus of MoH has been to address vaping in a bad light in every which way possible instead of re-evaluating their own failed cessation programmes and making vaping inclusive with options available to all consumers as we deserve an informed choice of what and how to vape, not choices made decisively by a anti-vaping ministry who are being advised by selectively choosing anti-vaping researchers to perform studies on e cigarettes to prove not science, but opinions held are justified.” Dohmen said further that “we have factual data available that shows on one hand 5000 NZers die a year from smoking related causes...on the other hand regardless of negative or positive data, we have vaping as a lesser of the two evils solution that should at least be taken seriously and introduced if you want to at least attempt to reduce those lives being lost in the first place.”

Other members of the vaping community, such as New Zealand Vapers Alliance(NZVA) “a group of New Zealand’s leading e-cigarette retailers” as well as individual members of the wider NZ vaping community and other retailers not associated with the NZVA have attempted to have discourse and to get the Ministry of Health to engage with the community about the issue. As AVCA has been saying since its inception: It is more than time to have the discussion about electronic cigarettes and vaping, publicly and objectively. Time will tell if this comes to fruition cooperatively and objectively.

It is time.


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