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Vaping Legislation And Snus Bans

The Government’s proposed vaping legislation includes an unnecessary and harmful ban on Swedish Snus. The New Zealand Initiative urged Parliament to consider Nicky Wagner’s Supplementary Order Paper that would strengthen the Bill’s ability to encourage harm reduction.

“Swedish snus has been an important part of a lot of Nordic smokers’ transition away from smoking,” said the Initiative’s Chief Economist, Dr Eric Crampton. “The Global Burden of Disease Study, published in The Lancet in 2017, confirmed that snus is not associated with increased risk of harm. Banning a far less harmful alternative to smoking does not reduce harm.”

The Initiative’s submission on the Government’s proposed legislation urged the government to rescind the Bill’s proposed ban on snus.

Snus is a powdered tobacco product held in a pouch similar to a tea bag; users place the pouch between the lower lip and gum. The Initiative’s earlier report on tobacco harm reduction concluded snus to be an effective part of a harm-reduction strategy.

“Nicky Wagner’s Supplementary Order Paper maintains a ban on snus, but allows the tobacco-free nicotine pouches that are currently marketed in New Zealand but that would also be covered by the government’s proposed ban. The Bill as written will immediately shut down businesses that sell these far less harmful alternatives to smoking, and would risk snus users switching back to smoking. Ms Wagner’s proposal would bring a snus alternative within the regulatory framework,” Dr Crampton continued.

Specialists in tobacco harm reduction agree that snus reduces harm. End Smoking New Zealand’s submission on the legislation advocated for legal access to snus. Action on Smoking & Health’s “Surge” strategy highlighted the potential for snus to reduce harm.

“Even the Ministry of Health’s Departmental Report, in evaluating submissions on snus, wrote that it “agrees that the evidence supports submitters’ comments that Swedish snus is significantly less harmful than smoking. The ban is motivated by politics, not health.

“Endorsing Ms Wagner’s Supplementary Order Paper is the least that Parliament can do in undoing some of the harm that the ban will otherwise cause,” Dr Crampton concluded.

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