Progressive Regulation Called For On World Vape Day
Today marks World Vape Day, with Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA) joining the hundreds of consumers and consumer advocacy organisations worldwide in the celebration that we #LiveLifeSmokeFree.
Saturday, 30 May will be celebrated around the globe as individuals, advocates and consumer organisations celebrate how vaping has significantly helped to reduce tobacco-related harm. Then on Sunday 31 May, it’s World Smokefree Day.
“Here in New Zealand, as we await next week’s Health Select Committee report on our vaping regulations, we remind the Government to ‘think of the children’ in the context of the social and health harms of tobacco,” says Nancy Loucas, Director of AVCA.
AVCA believes vaping policies and ‘quit smoking’ programmes need to increasingly focus on the parents and caregivers of children. The literature is clear on the influence that parents and caregivers who smoke have on their kids. A young person, for example, who lives with a parent who smokes is 80% to 90% more likely to become a regular smoker as an adult.
“Parents who switch to a smoke-free nicotine product are sending a valuable message to their children that quitting smoking, never starting smoking, and taking steps to improve one's health are important. For many parents, switching to a low-risk, smoke-free alternative like vaping could mean living long enough to meet their grandchildren and to be a part of their lives.”
She says Maori communities, in particular, have multi-generational financial and social harm from tobacco use - from failed tobacco control policies such as ‘quit or die’ and exorbitant tobacco taxes.
Of New Zealand’s 600,000 smokers, around 166,000 are Māori. Smoking prevalence among Māori is 2.6 times higher than among non-Māori, and lung cancer rates are three times higher.
“New Zealand’s bill to regulate vaping has the potential to address issues for at-risk Kiwi communities and their children in a pragmatic and risk proportionate way. It also could be a leading example of progressive public health policy in the wider Asia-Pacific basin.
“We’re hopeful that the Government will take on board the thousands of voices who’ve constructively addressed the regulations during the consultation period and for MPs decisions to be based on scientific and statistical facts,” she says.
As it stands, the Government bill proposes restricting vape flavours to just three for all general retailers. AVCA, however, is keen to remind the Government that a lot of people are now smoke-free thanks to replacing tobacco with low-risk alternatives and preferring flavours beyond menthol, mint, and tobacco.
“Access to vaping products and flavours is key, especially for whanau who live in provincial and remote parts of New Zealand,” says Nancy Loucas
AVCA was formed in 2016 by vapers across New Zealand wanting their voices heard in local and central government. All members are former smokers who promote vaping to help smokers quit - a much less harmful alternative to combustible tobacco products. AVCA does not have any affiliation or vested interest in industry - tobacco, pharmaceutical and/or the local vaping manufacturing or retail sectors.
Last month AVCA presented to Parliament’s Health Select Committee on the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill. The committee is due to report back to Parliament on Tuesday, 2 June. To read AVCA’s full submission on the bill to regulate vaping in New Zealand, visit: https://avca.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/AVCA-Sub.pdf