Govt urged to push vaping as alternative to smoking

  • 12/05/2018
The NZ Initiative report said snus - a moist tobacco product popular in Scandinavia - should be legalised here. Photo credit: Getty

Investing in vaping is being touted as a quick way to meet our Smokefree 2025 goal.

It follows a New Zealand Initiative report which argues that turning to less harmful methods is a good way to stub out the habit - much better than going cold turkey.

QJ Satchell from NZVAPOR says thousands of people have already taken up vaping, and it's doing the trick.

"People of all ages switch off their own back. There's been no real Government funding that's been put into helping people make the change - imagine what we could do if the Government did throw a bit of money towards our industry."

The NZ Initiative report said snus - a moist tobacco product popular in Scandinavia - should be legalised here.

"For too long, policymakers have sought to punish smokers through mechanisms like tobacco excise rather than giving smokers the ability to switch to less harmful alternatives," said researcher Jenesa Jeram.

"Over 10 years ago, the Ministry of Health was satisfied from the research at hand that snus is less harmful than smoking, but New Zealand continues to ban the sale of snus.

"Meanwhile in Sweden where snus-use is prolific, smoking prevalence has reduced to around 7 percent."

Smokefree NZ says around 16 percent of Kiwi adults still smoke traditional cigarettes - down from 25 percent in 1997. But most of that fall came between 2005 and 2008, with only a small decline in the past decade.

"It is a risk that somebody is going to be picking up a smoke later on in life, even if it's 10 years down the line, it's better to be vaping all the way through that because it's 95 percent less harmful," says Mr Satchell.

A Member's Bill from National MP Nicky Wagner would legalise e-cigarettes. While they're openly sold already, technically they're illegal - but the law is not enforced.

"As the leaders of a progressive government, Labour should be embracing these new products as a compassionate approach to tobacco harm reduction," says Ms Jeram.

"If every cigarette smoked causes damage, then every day the government denies access to these products will increase the harm to smokers."