The final stages of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill will be debated in the coming days, after the House resumes for its final three-week session before the General Election.
Wagner’s amendments would lift the ban on snus and allow businesses that receive at least 50% (not 70%) of their turnover from vaping products, to be allowed the specialist vape retailer status.
AVCA co-director and executive coordinator of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) Nancy Loucas, referred to a bill amendment proposed by MP Wagner, which suggests lifting the local snus ban. She said that Wagner seems to have listened to the submissions made by harm reduction experts and that his proposal should be supported.
“MP Nicky Wagner’s amendment to reverse the Government’s effective ban on oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches deserves supporting. Thank goodness at least one MP read and listened to key submissions and evidence on the bill to regulate vaping,” said Loucas.
“As the amendment on pouches notes, the Ministry of Health advised the Health Select Committee that oral nicotine products are significantly less harmful than smoking. Given they’re administered orally there are no adverse health problems which have been proven through nicotine gum and sprays. Hence, banning them makes absolutely no sense,” she added.
Wagner has submitted two Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs) one which lifts the ban on oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches, and another which allows businesses that receive at least 50% (not 70%) of their turnover from vaping products, to be allowed the specialist vape retailer status, under strict conditions.
“More specialist retailers means better access to vape flavours for Kiwis keen to quit smoking. It’s crazy that general retailers will only be permitted to sell mint, menthol and tobacco flavours whilst allowing combustible tobacco to be sold freely. Allowing for more specialist vape retailers, under strict conditions, would only be a positive for Smokefree 2025,” explained Loucas.
The bill is being rushed because of elections
Loucas has recently pointed out that rather than rushing the bill in the last few days leading to the local General Election, the bill’s complexities should be discussed afterwards. “We’ve been calling for legislation for years, and to think it could now be rushed through under Urgency is completely unacceptable. Sadly, the only winners will be the shareholders of multinational corporations,” she said.
“Given time is now short, Parliament should do the right thing and debate the bill after the election. Then MPs will have a fresh mandate and be more focused to deal with the many complex issues the proposed regulation brings.”
Study finds snus as effective as nicotine gum for smoking cessation
Meanwhile, a recent study funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has found that snus is relatively as effective as nicotine gum in helping smokers quit smoking. Titled, “Randomised clinical trial of snus versus medicinal nicotine among smokers interested in product switching,” the study was conducted by Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami and colleagues at the University of Minnesota and the Oregon Research Institute. It recruited some 400 smokers who wanted to switch to snus or nicotine gum in order to quit smoking.
Using Camel snus for the study, the researchers found no significant differences in smoking cessation success in participants using snus or nicotine gum. “The results showed no significant differences between those assigned to medicinal nicotine vs snus in amount of product use, levels of cotinine attained, the extent to which the product substituted for smoking and rates of avoidance of cigarettes or any nicotine containing products. Furthermore, there were no differences in suppression of withdrawal from cigarettes.”
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