“There’s a real risk of New Zealand’s smoking rates creeping back up if the accessibility of vaping remains reduced while tobacco products continue to be available as per usual,” said Director of AVCA, Nancy Loucas.
“Vape stores play a really important role in keep vapers off tobacco and a chance for smokers to talk through their options. Not every vape store will want to open, but those that do and can demonstrate safe operating procedures for staff and customers should be allowed to under Alert Level 3,” she says.
Vape shops should be considered essential businesses
Loucas referred to the fact that certain countries have deemed vape stores essential businesses, and allowed them to remain open. She added that backtracking from the progress that has been made in New Zealand would be a shame.
“As a country we’ve worked so hard to drive down New Zealand’s overall smoking rate to 12.5%, with vaping a huge part of that. As the Prime Minister would say let’s not lose our halftime advantage. Let’s do all we can to limit vapers returning to something that’s 95% more harmful and kills 5,000 Kiwis a year,” she says.