Tobacco harm reduction advocates are encouraged to send their submissions on New Zealand’s Government Smokefree action plan.
Falling on the 30th of May, just a day before World No Tobacco on May 31st, the AVCA is reminding Kiwi ex-smokers and vaping advocates, that more action is required to achieve the Smokefree Aotearoa goal. More submissions on the Government’s action plan could go a long way in highlighting the importance of including vaping products in the
“World Vape Day is a celebration of personal stories of smokers who have found an incredibly effective way out of smoking, thanks to the advent of innovative smoke-free products,” said AVCA co-director Nancy Loucas.
She added that sadly, despite the global success and data available in favour of vaping, the World Health Organisation (WHO) continues to condemn the products. In fact, the WHO is once again using World No Tobacco Day to push its anti-vaping agenda.
In total contrast with other health entities such as Public Health England (PHE), the WHO keeps claiming that ENDS and smokeless alternatives do not help smokers quit smoking; are more harmful than combustible tobacco; and that nicotine is equivalent to heroin in terms of addictiveness.
Study found no teen vaping “epidemic” in New Zealand
Moreover, added Loucas, in New Zealand there is an increasingly negative media narrative about an alleged teen “vaping epidemic.” However, a peer reviewed study found no such thing.
“After examining a survey of over 27,000 secondary school students, University of Auckland researchers last year confirmed there was no youth vaping epidemic in New Zealand. They found that only 0.8% of 14 and 15-year-olds, who had never smoked, were regular vapers. It’s important we stay focused on the evidence, not the emotion,” said Loucas.
Earlier this year, Loucas explained that while it’s clear that vaping has helped many Kiwis quit tobacco, Maori and Pacific people sadly remain decades off becoming smokefree unless significant interventions and actions are taken soon.
NZ should follow the UK’s example
She has emphasized that just like the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has been an effective catalyst for switching smokers to vaping, educating smokers about the relative benefits of vaping is key. She added that the government’s recent decision to refrain from hiking tobacco tax was a progressive step in the right direction.
“It’s great the Government wasn’t tempted to hike tobacco tax. It’s terribly regressive, hitting the vulnerable the hardest with the high Māori smoking rate budging little. AVCA believes education remains key, as does ensuring vaping is an accessible and appealing alternative.”
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