“This report confirms the critical importance of vaping and the availability of vape products. If the Government is serious about tobacco harm reduction it will reflect carefully on this before tabling the Smoke-free Environments (Vaping) Amendment Bill,” says Ben Pryor, spokesperson for VTANZ.
The ASH report says that the Government presently has the opportunity to introduce top standards, by developing a framework that delivers risk-relative regulations for alternative nicotine products, and emphasizing the difference between tobacco and non-tobacco products.
The importance of regulating sensibly
The report points out that key features of a framework would include responsible marketing to adults, appropriate advert controls (not a ban) and recognizing that ﬂavours play an important role in encouraging adult smokers to switch to vaping. Additionally, it emphasizes that vaping products should meet speciﬁc safety standards for devices, liquids and ingredients.
Newly launched vaping association, VTANZ, is in support with “the implementation of world-class product standards and safety regime to protect consumers, as well as R18 sales, and having public policy that genuinely protects youth.”
Vaping needs to be promoted appropriately not restricted
Renowned public health expert David Sweanor from the University of Ottawa, Canada, was in New Zealand for the report launch. “Having international anti-smoking experts like David Sweanor in the country promoting vaping as the best solution to smoking is being well received. I just hope the Government is also listening to the experts calling for regulation that works,” said Jonathan Devery, co-owner of Vapo and Alt New Zealand.
“David is globally recognized and has been leading the charge against tobacco for over 35 years. He wants to transition the world’s billion smokers to lower risk products. That means throwing away combustible cigarettes, that kill 14 New Zealanders every day, and replacing them with vaping that’s 95% less harmful.”
“However, for that to happen policymakers need to ensure vaping is promoted and accessible to adult smokers, and not restrict it like in Australia where smoking rates have sadly not fallen in recent years,” added Devery.
“The experts authoring this report are saying all of this and New Zealanders get it. Kiwis know that vaping is much better for smokers than tobacco. They understand the need for legislation that sets the two apart, and will respect intelligent evidence-based regulation.”
“If our Government does what it’s promising, it will effectively be doing the complete opposite of what anti-smoking experts are recommending in this report. Excessive regulations around critical factors like marketing and flavours won’t get anyone off smoking and will only perpetuate Big Tobacco’s survival. Vaping is our best chance,” concluded Devery.
The vaping community supports the report
The Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA) applauds the ASH report aswell. “The main pillar of this report clarifies the role that low risk smoke-free nicotine products have in achieving the SmokeFree goal and the best way to regulate the products for successful, inclusive and future proofed legislation. The authors outline how to get back on track for SmokeFree 2025 utilising a “surge strategy” to help facilitate smokers to switch off combustible tobacco with risk proportionate regulation that protects the public whilst also offering smokers liberal access to the many choices in smoke free alternatives that present much lower health risks compared to combustible tobacco,” said the AVCA in a statement.