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Last March, the government of New Zealand announced that vaping products would be legalized, and while many commended this motion, the ARANZ spoke against it. Despite evidence to the contrary, the organization claimed that the products are harmful to the respiratory system.

“As far as we’re aware, there is no good evidence demonstrating that using e-cigarettes will reduce the incidence of smoking cigarettes. We fear that the Ministry of Health are providing advice based on one side of the story when it comes to e-cigarette use. Whilst they may be safer than smoking cigarettes, that is not a very hard hurdle to jump. We do however know that there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that these products do damage in the respiratory tract. We urge the MOH to tread very carefully in considering the appropriate regulatory framework for these products.” said Letitia O’Dwyer, CEO of the ARANZ.

“If it was really as simple as just telling people to quit, a smokefree Aotearoa [Maori name for New Zealand] would have been achieved years ago. But the reality is that it’s bloody hard to quit, and we have seen little change in Māori smoking rates.” Dr. Lance O'Sullivan, National Advisor, Hāpai Te Hauora

Following this press release, Maori Health Organization Hapai Te Hauora spoke up against the ARANZ’s stance and in favour of Ministry of Health’s decision and previous ministers’ compassionate and progressive stance on e-cigarettes.

If smokers could quit unaided, a smokefree NZ would have already been achieved

“If it was really as simple as just telling people to quit, a smokefree Aotearoa [Maori name for New Zealand] would have been achieved years ago. But the reality is that it’s bloody hard to quit, and we have seen little change in Māori smoking rates. We need to open our minds to new approaches to eliminating tobacco harm, and the fact is e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco”, pointed out National Advisor for Hāpai Te Hauora, Dr. Lance O’Sullivan.

“We need to open our minds to new approaches to eliminating tobacco harm, and the fact is e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco.” Dr. Lance O'Sullivan, National Advisor, Hāpai Te Hauora

The organization has always supported approaches that offer appropriate smoking cessation opportunities for everyone and believe that e-cigarettes have been delivering positive results amongst the Maori population.

“We have seen a sustained campaign against e-cigarettes from the Foundation. We urge the Minister of Health David Clark and Associate Minister of Health with responsibility for tobacco control Jenny Salesa to consider carefully their response to this lobbying activity from the Asthma and Respiration Foundation as a wrong step now will put Smokefree 2025 out of reach for our most affected communities,” added O’Sullivan. 

Getting the nicotine hit without the added toxins

In line with the health organization, the Maori party also sees the devices as a key opportunity for smoking cessation. “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.” said co leader of the Maori Party Marama Fox last March.

Read Further: Scoop

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