“It’s crazy that Kiwis desperate to quit cigarettes can walk into a service station and buy any cigarette brand under the sun. They can’t, however, access the most popular vapes flavours. It makes no sense when vaping has been proven to be 95% less harmful than smoking,” said Jonathan Devery, co-owner of the largest Kiwi-owned vape companies, Alt New Zealand and VAPO.
He highlighted that the regulatory change will make it less likely for Kiwi smokers to switch to the safer alternatives. “The latest service station industry data shows that tobacco sales – both in terms of volume and value – have been falling like a stone. It’s only because safer nicotine alternatives like ours have been on a rapid ascent. After achieving record low smoking rates, a return to cigarette smoking would be an absolute disaster,” said Devery.
Australian expert think NZ’s vape bill is a good start
Meanwhile commenting on the bill, Australian public health expert and tobacco harm reduction advocate Dr. Colin Mendelsohn highlighted that unlike its Australian counterpart, at least the NZ government clearly understands the potential of vaping as a safer alternative to smoking. In fact, he added, vape retailers are allowed to display the following messages.
- “Completely replacing your cigarette with a vape will reduce harm to your health”, and
- “If you smoke, switching completely to vaping is a much less harmful option”
He points out that Australia should really follow suit. “The NZ regulations put Australia to shame. They are based on the evidence rather than politics and ideology. They are a model for good public health policy on vaping and will save lives.”
“Australia’s requirement for nicotine prescriptions is complex, expensive and unnecessary and makes it harder to access vaping products than cigarettes. Is that really what Greg Hunt wants?” concluded Mendelsohn.