Selling e-cigarettes to vape nicotine containing e-liquid, even if to be used as a smoking cessation tool has been illegal, however a public dialogue on the possibility of legalizing e-cigarettes as part of the smoke free NZ campaign, had begun this Summer. With this possibility being dismissed, smokers are being advised to use existing approved methods such as nicotine patches.
Concerned that there is not enough research… but isn’t there?
The Health Ministry’s paper said that although there is some evidence that vaping may be less harmful than smoking, there is not enough data to fully understand the long term and short term effects of vaping on one’s health, and the ability of these nicotine delivery devices in assisting them quit nicotine altogether. This statement contrasts with several studies that prove that not only is vaping a safer alternative to smoking, (the Royal College of Physicians in the UK even finding that it is at least 95% safer than smoking) but also that using a vaporizer is an effective known smoking cessation method.
The NZ government pointed out that only one e-cigarette company has been working on manufacturing approved smoking cessation medicines, and that should there be any more, they should apply through Medsafe, however this process will cost any interested parties between 7,000 and 88,000 dollars.
The paper was concluded by voicing the concern that some tobacco companies are trying to infiltrate the vaping industry, with their involvement increasing over the last few years, but once again the ministry stated that they do not have the information available to know their precise market share.
Health expert asks for a broader perspective
Marewa Glover, an associate professor of public health at Massey University disagrees with the government’s decision stating that vaping should be available to anyone seeking to “quit tobacco”. On the topic of kid friendly flavours she not only agrees that there is no clear evidence about vaping leading to smoking in young adults but mentioned how having the diverse array of flavours is very important to encourage adults to make the safer switch. She feels it is imperative to not place “unnecessary and unfounded restrictions in the way of adults switching to vaping.”