New Zealander vapers’ consumer group is growing concerned with the lack of progress made on reaching the national government’s mission to be “smoke-free” by 2025.
“Back in 2011 when Smokefree 2025 was launched, it was viewed as doable albeit requiring serious and deliberate government programmes and intervention,” states Nancy Loucas, co-director of Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA)—the advocacy group in question. “However, nine years on, we’re still sadly miles off.”
A press release published by Scoop.co.nz, found that if the government fails to offer “bold action,” non-Māori people won’t be smoke-free until the year 2038, and Māori (Native New Zealanders) won’t be smoke-free until 2061. The term “smoke-free” is defined as the effort to remove all smoking in the country is at the top of the list. This was a measure indicated for developing a tobacco control policy that considers harm reduction approaches, including the use of smoke-free tobacco products like vapes and oral tobacco products.
The AVCA noted that the government’s Associate Health Minister, Dr. Ayesha Verrall, are to deliver on the government’s pre-election promise to which the smoke-free 2025 action plan is an immediate priority.
“Dr. Verrall views Smokefree 2025 as absolutely critical given New Zealand’s 5,000 preventable deaths every year due to tobacco. However, she also knows it will require a lot of focus. Those of us in the business of tobacco harm reduction believe Ayesha Verrall is the best champion to pick up this baton and deliver,” Loucas says.
AVCA submitted a parliamentary petition on vaping some time ago, with over 17,000 people signing it. It was formally accepted by New Zealand’s Parliament and referred to the body’s Health Select Committee on August 18th. The committee has yet to take action on the petition.
Read the press release here.