Good on Hamilton for rejecting vaping ban
Thursday, 14 March 2019
Hamilton City Council has voted to keep vaping out of its smokefree policy following a debate on the city’s Smokefree And Vapefree Outdoor Areas Policy and Smokefree Plan.
All but one city councillor agreed on 14 March to remove all references to vaping in the city’s smokefree policy, despite a recent committee endorsement for vaping to be included in Hamilton’s plan. The full council agreed to review its decision in 12 months' time.
The u-turn follows significant push-back including from the largest New Zealand-owned vaping business. It says vaping is key to the country achieving Smoke Free 2025.
“Good on Hamilton City Council for showing others in local government a much smarter way to help reduce the country’s smoking rates,” says Kiwi vaping entrepreneur Jonathan Devery.
The co-owner of New Zealand-owned vaping and e-cigarette companies, VAPO and Alt, argues that banning vaping from the likes of streets, parks and beaches won’t improve one person’s health nor will it stop anyone from smoking.
“We’ve seen council vaping bans come into force up and down the country, but they’re completely misguided. Vaping is the most effective tool there is for smokers to give up cigarettes. Hopefully Hamilton’s leadership marks a turning point and will make other councils think more about the evidence and less about the emotion,” says Mr Devery.
Chairman of Action for Smokefree (ASH) 2025, Professor Robert Beaglehole also waded into the original Hamilton proposal, recently saying any planned vaping ban would cause more harm than good.
Last week Wellington City Council deferred its decision on vaping after lobbying from the likes of public health organisation Hapai Te Hauora for vaping not to be included in the capital city’s smokefree policy. Wellington will decide on whether or not to include vaping on 21 March.
Mr Devery says there’s ample international evidence that shows vaping is at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes and is 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’.
“If councils really want to contribute to Smoke Free 2025, they need to stop shunning a practice that gives New Zealand its best chance of being tobacco free. Well done Hamilton and now let’s hope Wellington also does the right thing,” says Mr Devery.