Calls To Ban Vaping Misguided
The announcement that New Zealand would NOT follow Australia's lead to a full prescription model for nicotine vaping, further reinforces the country’s international standing on the issue of tobacco harm reduction and is good news says a leading consumer advocacy group.
“We applaud Health Minister Ayesha Verrall and the Government’s balanced approach to "tweaking" the regulations to suit the New Zealand situation and not be influenced by those who called her to simply follow Australia's lead in effectively banning vaping,” said Nancy Loucas, a prominent New Zealand public health consumer advocate and executive coordinator of CAPHRA.
“We acknowledge that vaping is not completely harmless, but expert opinion is that vaping products are much less harmful than smoking tobacco,”
The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA has always called for a balanced approach that recognises the potential of vaping to help smokers quit and contribute to New Zealand's Smoke-free 2025 goal.
CAPHRA believes that a ban on recreational vaping in New Zealand, like that in Australia, would have been a giant step backwards in the fight against smoking.
“We still believe that the government has a responsibility to activate the planned Public Information campaign around vaping - who it is for and why, with urgency, to avoid any further dissemination of disinformation by those who do not understand what this policy is about." said Ms. Loucas.
New Zealand is celebrated for its stance on tobacco harm reduction, and the Ministry of Health's Vaping Facts website provides credible information about vaping as a way to stop smoking. The website states that vaping is much less harmful than smoking, and switching from smoking to vaping allows smokers to manage their cravings for nicotine without as many harmful toxins that come with smoking.
"We also acknowledge that the regulations were never meant to be cast in stone and would require revision as issues arose that would both protect the rights of people who use safer nicotine to stay off combustibles and protecting youth from accessing the products. The Minister’s announcement strikes that balance, and we are pleased to see this eventuate,” Ms. Loucas said.
The Ministry of Health also recognises that vaping is an effective tool to help smokers quit, and that vaping products are regulated under the Smoke-free Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990.