Excellent news for Kiwi smokers wishing to give vaping a try for smoking cessation. Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner said that in legalizing the products they are adopting a low risk approach since scientific evidence about the the safety of e-cigarettes is still being developed.
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The products are expected to be available for sale sometime next year, and while some are calling this a big win for the vaping industry, as the products will be exempt from high taxes and plain packaging regulations, others concerned with the nation’s health will consider this a major win for public health.
Choosing a harm reduction approach
Earlier this month Marama Fox, co leader of the Maori Party, had said that he is of the opinion that vaping products present an opportunity for harm reduction. “What we also have is statistics that show vaping is harm-reducing, not cancer-causing. We also have statistics that show vaping is a good cessation tool, that move people off cancer-causing combustible cigarettes onto something that, while it’s still addictive because it has nicotine in it, doesn’t cause smoking-related illnesses and isn’t a burden on the system.”
“I have [tried vaping]. But I’m not very good at it but I don’t smoke either. I suggest anyone who smokes here has a go at vaping, too.” said Associate Health Minister Wagner, “Around the world we can’t get clear research about this. But what we’re thinking is they are about 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes,” she concluded clearly referring to the study published by Public Health England last year.
Regulations for vaping products are thought to include restricting sales to people 18 years and over, banning vaping in indoor spaces where smoking is prohibited, and restrictions on advertising, such as a prohibition to advertise on radio, TV and billboards.
A step towards a healthier future
Today is great day for New Zealand as they have moved a step forward towards better health and to achieving their goal of being smoke-free by 2025. Since the UK took a similar measure and fully endorsed electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation, Stop Smoking Services started giving out the devices as part of their smoking cessation programs, and smoking started declining drastically. As a result the UK is now reporting the lowest number of smokers ever recorded.