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Ministry Of Health Pushing People Back To Smoking, Says Advocacy Group

An advocacy group representing vapers in the Asia Pacific region says that proposed limits on nicotine concentrations in vaping liquids in New Zealand may not help smokers quit and could backfire.

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) submitted a response to the New Zealand Ministry of Health's proposal to cap reusable vaping product nicotine concentrations at 28.5mg/mL for nicotine salts. CAPHRA executive coordinator and prominent New Zealand public health consumer advocate Nancy Loucas argues in the submission that limiting nicotine levels could push users back to smoking cigarettes.

“Many lower-powered vaping devices currently require higher nicotine concentration liquids to effectively deliver nicotine to users, so reducing the legal nicotine limit would disproportionately impact lower-income New Zealanders who cannot afford more advanced devices,” said Ms Loucas.

“Instead of limiting nicotine levels, enforcement of vaping retailer regulations and public education

should be priorities,” said Ms Loucas.

The submission states: "The regulations as they are written are fine. The clarification needs to follow the regulations as written. Instead of this, it would be best to spend time and money on the enforcement of shops, and education of the community."

Loucas concludes by urging policymakers to consider the needs of vulnerable smokers: "The prevalence of smoking in Aotearoa is among the poorest and most vulnerable populations. They would be unable to afford more expensive and efficient devices that would deliver the nicotine they need to get and stay smokefree [which] are out of their reach."

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