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“Low income families are being absolutely destroyed by taxes on tobacco; this gives them the opportunity to get nicotine without paying excise tax,” said the ACT’s party leader David Seymour. The ACT Party is in agreement with the government’s decision, saying that being able to swap cigarettes for vaping products will save the 35.5% of Maori smokers hundreds of dollars a week.

Seymour added that the fact that these products will not be taxed as regular cigarettes means that no one will be tempted to steal them, and this should in turn lead to a reduction in thefts from dairies and service stations.

Vaping for harm reduction

This legislation will play an important role in achieving New Zealand’s goal of becoming smoke-free by 2025.
“The value [of an e-cigarette] is practically worthless – you’d be better off stealing milk and bread. It’s because of the high taxes that it’s worthwhile stealing tobacco,” said Seymour.

Taking a slightly different stance, Labour Party health spokesman David Clark, said that caution must be exercised since tobacco companies have invested in some of these devices, and hence is urging the Government to keep an eye out.

Yet Seymour disagreed with Clark saying that several studies point out the potential that the  products hold for smoking cessation, and to their minimized risks when compared to combustible cigarettes.

“Low income families are being absolutely destroyed by taxes on tobacco; this gives them the opportunity to get nicotine without paying excise tax.”David Seymour, party leader, ACT

“The Labour Party, typically, are more worried about utu against tobacco companies than they are about the welfare of people who will get a safer product and a massive tax reduction if they’re addicted to nicotine.” concluded Seymour.

Health department professor from Otago University, Tony Blakely agrees with the reform. He said that this legislation will play an important role in achieving New Zealand’s goal of becoming smoke-free by 2025, by reducing the demand for tobacco and aiding smokers quit.

Will e-cigs hook adolescents on nicotine?

Data has shown that the majority of people who opt for vaping do so for smoking cessation, and those who experiment or try the products out of curiosity, do not tend to start vaping regularly
In line with what the NNA (New Nicotine Alliance), has said on other occasions, Blakely said that the government should also look into other nicotine replacement options. However, on a slightly pessimistic note, Blakely is concerned that the devices might be considered “cool” hence increase the number of people addicted to nicotine.

Thankfully, data has shown that the majority of people who opt for vaping do so for smoking cessation, and those who experiment or try the products out of curiosity, do not tend to start vaping regularly. With regards to young people, it is true that certain trends related to vaping have been observed, such as cloud chasing, however research has shown that followers of such trends tend to use nicotine-free e-liquids as consuming the addictive substance is not something they are remotely interested in.