Patrick Gower: Smoking killed my Mum - time to ban it

OPINION: Smoking killed my Mum.

She died of lung cancer.

She was 56 years old and it was a total waste of a good life. There is so much she has missed out on.

That is why there is nobody in New Zealand who wants smoking banned more than me.

Not a day goes by when I see someone smoking and don't wish that my Mum had stopped.

I also wish the person smoking would stop to save themselves and their families the pain that we suffered.

Lung cancer is a painful and degrading way to die, take it from me, there is no dignity.

I virtually never talk about my views on smoking privately or publicly, and until now I have kept my thoughts to myself because I haven't wanted to force them on other people.

But on The AM Show this morning they were talking about stopping smoking, and in the ad break before I came on to the paneI I decided the time was right.

I was inspired after seeing Dr Hayden McRobbie from Counties Manukau DHB's Stop Smoking programme talking about vaping earlier on the show.

He came in from the frontline and gave the most simple explanation as to how we can reduce smoking in this country, which is to let vaping come in.

Dr McRobbie says vaping helps people give up, and is better for your health.

Vaping therefore is the big solution for the people who are addicted and can't stop, or who can't afford smoking but want to give up. It would also stop a black market if a ban on smoking comes in.

My Mum was addicted to smoking. If I could have got her on a vape I would have.

My message to The Minister of Health David Clark is he needs to simply to clear his diary and get Dr McRobbie into his office and get onto the stopping smoking and vaping issue. Let the frontline guy run the show.

There are silly laws around vaping and perhaps we should look at taking it out of the dodgy shops and publicly funding it.

Dr Clark needs to listen to Dr McRobbie, then get off his butt and start saving some lives.

I will be upfront, I don't like vaping I find it "icky" and invasive and think there needs to be some better etiquette around it.

However, if it saves lives let's do it. Maybe we should even investigate letting doctors and pharmacies supply vapes?

That way we can move towards a full ban on smoking as soon as possible.

I think the Government should start now by banning smoking on our beaches and in our parks. I hate finding butts there, it is disgusting.

Then we can move towards a full ban by 2020 - and stop smoking killing people like my Mum.

Patrick Gower is Newshub's National Correspondent