In an attempt to get New Zealand smoke-free by 2025, the country’s Ministry of Health has officially endorsed the use of e-cigs as a viable way of quitting the habit. New Zealand officials have got behind the idea that using e-cigarettes is considerably less harmful than smoking tobacco and their use can make a huge improvement on public health, although they do qualify this by saying that only regular smokers should take up vaping.
The sale of nicotine-containing vaping products in New Zealand is currently illegal, however many Kiwis have been purchasing their e-cigs and nicotine-infused e-juices from overseas, since importation for personal use is legal. The change of heart from the government is a bold move towards enabling citizens to buy products closer to home, with the reduced expense and extra convenience that this brings with it.
New Zealand’s Key Messages
The New Zealand Ministry of Health have put forward a number of key messages to support their stance on vaping, pointing out some essential facts about e-cigarette use:
- Giving up smoking is the single best health improvement that smokers can make.
- By encouraging smokers to make the switch to e-cigs, New Zealand can achieve the goal of getting the nation smoke free from 2025.
- No international evidence has been produced to prove that using e-cigs has caused a rise in the number of people smoking, whether adults or teens, and in fact, current evidence even suggests that using e-cigarettes could be causing the numbers to decline.
- Although there is not yet enough evidence to prove that e-cigs are not entirely harm-free, vaping is a lot less dangerous for the health than smoking tobacco.
- E-cigarettes should only be used by existing smokers and should not be used by non-smokers.
- New Zealand’s anti-smoking organizations should begin to promote the use of e-cigs as a useful tool for stopping smoking and support those who use them instead of criticising them.
- Anti-smoking organizations should start to offer e-cigs as a viable option for those smokers who have failed to quit the habit when using other methods or nicotine replacement therapies.
- When e-cigarettes are used in the intended manner, the chance of being poisoned by nicotine are non-existent, although all related products should have child-proofed packaging.
- Vaping products should only be purchased from reputable sources for the best possible safety.
- Vaping will still be outlawed in all indoor working environments and in any location where smoking is currently banned under the terms of the Smoke-Free Environments Act.
While the Ministry of Health’s October press release did make clear that at present the sale of nicotine-containing vaping products is illegal, officials hope that this will be changed in the near future.
Nicotine-Enhanced Vaping To Be Legalized By Mid-2018
The press release sets a proposed date for the legalization of nicotine-infused vaping products by the middle of 2018, although the bill has to be approved first by New Zealand’s parliament. The newly proposed legislation would prohibit any sale of vaping products or e-cigs to minors while restricting any sales through vending machines.
It would also enable establishments to propose their e-cigarette products through the use of promotions and creative marketing, although any advertising on billboards, radio or TV would be restricted, and the emphasis will be placed heavily on safety requirements of the products. An especially interesting element of the bill’s proposal will enable retailers to offer potential customers free samples, discounts and loyalty rewards to persuade more people to make the switch.
The Australia/New Zealand Divide
This latest change in attitude from New Zealand towards vaping is extremely encouraging, especially when compared to the neighboring country of Australia, which is still taking a firmly anti-vaping stance. At present, Australian smokers are forbidden from having any access to low-risk nicotine products and no signs of change are on the horizon.
For the foreseeable future, it seems as though the tobacco control ideologues are running the show, giving a rather severe message to the nation’s smokers that the only choice that they face is to quit the habit completely or potentially risk dying of a smoking-related condition. Hopefully, New Zealand’s bigger neighbour will now take note of the happenings in the vaping world close to home and consider changing their own policies.