“Dr Verrall is a public health expert and so having her around the cabinet table, after only being elected as an MP last month, is positive for New Zealand at this time,” says AVCA co-director, Nancy Loucas.
“Dr Verrall has noted there are well-established measures to get us to smokefree, but the challenge and work ahead will be building a consensus around them. AVCA is encouraged that the new minister has already identified Smokefree 2025 as a focus, and we are committed to working constructively with her, new Health Minister Andrew Little, and the ministry to those ends,” says Ms Loucas.
Vaping is decreasing smoking rates
Meanwhile, End Smoking NZ, a local charity focused on smoking cessation, has reported that 410 million fewer cigarettes were sold last year than just two years ago, pointing out that encouraging smokers to switch to safer alternatives would yield even better figures.
The fact that vaping is playing a major role in decreasing local smoking rates, is once again raising concerns that the Government’s move to restrict vaping flavours and potentially cap nicotine levels in vaping products will only slow such progress.
“This rapid decline in cigarette sales shows vaping products are clearly working. However, the Government’s over regulation of flavours will mean cigarette sales are set to get a boost. No wonder tobacco companies are welcoming the flavour restrictions as they will simply help preserve traditional tobacco’s longevity,” said Jonathan Devery, co-owner of Alt New Zealand and VAPO.