Council 'demonising' vaping despite benefits, manufacturer claims

A major vaping company is frustrated by another council's moves to lump the products in with cigarettes.

The Matamata-Piako District Council is adding vaping to its smokefree outdoor policy, affecting three towns.

Alt New Zealand director Jonathan Devery sees it as a step backwards.

"We think it's going to have a negative impact on the numbers of people switching to vaping products, and it's going to have a negative impact on New Zealand moving forward towards the smoke-free 2025 goal."

Hamilton City Council earlier rejected a vaping ban.

Devery says it is frustrating.

"If they want to be a part of helping New Zealand meet the 2025 smokefree goal, they need to enable vaping products and accessibility to them, instead of demonising them."

Councillors felt vaping was a "distasteful" look, Stuff reported, and considered vaping the same as smoking. 

"This aligns with the Government's smokefree 2025, so this is a step forward in the right direction," councillor Adrienne Wilcock said.

Devery said that was wrong.

"Because of that, they're making decisions that are going to have an incredibly negative effect on both the health of individuals and obviously the wealth of those individuals too."

The Government recently launched a new website to promote vaping as a quit-smoking tool.

The World Health Organization last week said research showed e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products weren't helping lower cancer rates however, and warned against believing the industry's "systemic, aggressive, sustained and well-resourced opposition to tobacco control measures".

"While some strategies are public and others more covert... all have the goal of weakening tobacco control."

The WHO's Vinayak Prasad said new products like e-cigarettes are solely intended to expand the markets of tobacco firms.

"There is no difference between cigarettes and heated tobacco products except that in terms of exposure: the exposure is less and the smoke is not visible."

A University of Otago study earlier this year showed liberalising the rules around vaping products led to a gain of 236,000 life years for the general population, and savings of $3.4 billion in the health system, over their newly extended lifespans. The research suggested it will have the same effect on public health as 15 years of 10 percent excise tax increases.