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Whakatūpato: He nikotīni kei roto i tēnei mea, he matū tino whakawara

Future New Zealand: Vaping, the Route to a Smokefree NZ

According to the Ministry of Health website, “Smoking kills more people in NZ each year than road crashes, alcohol, other drugs, suicide, murder, drowning and earthquakes – all put together!”. The toll of 5,000 annual deaths means 13 people die each day, both smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke. This prompted a more aggressive course of action for the Ministry of Health to ensure that Kiwi families are protected against the horrible burden of disease and death caused by smoking. A future New Zealand is envisioned to become smoke-free with vaping as one of the factors paving the way to tobacco control.

The Smokefree NZ Goal

The New Zealand government is determined to reduce the horrendous stress brought about by combustible smoke-related health issues and deaths. In 2011, the Smokefree 2025 communicates an ambitious goal of keeping smoking prevalence at a low 5%.

The government has also agreed to regulate tobacco availability at minimal levels. It is not, however, a commitment to ban smoking entirely by the stated year.

The regulation aims to:

  • Protect children and minors under 18 from exposure to marketing and promotion of tobacco products and further restrict access
  • Protect the public and working population from secondhand smoke
  • Reduce demand for, and supply of tobacco
  • Support the best possible tools for smoking cessation which includes electronic cigarette use and other vaping devices like e-cig starter kits.
  • Further promote the auahi kore or smokefree lifestyle as the norm

The smoking ban in early childhood centres, schools, and indoor workplaces only apply to combustible, traditional tobacco smoke. Though it does not apply to electronic cigarettes and vaping gadgets, it is up to individual employers and companies to decide whether or not to include vaping in their smokefree policies.

To stay on track, 2018 should see a fall in daily smoking prevalence down 10% overall. The 2011 Māori and Pacific rates should also be halved– down to 19% and 12% respectively.

What Smokefree 2025 means for consumers:

  • Heated or heat-not-burn tobacco products and nicotine e-liquid vaping devices can be lawfully sold in New Zealand.
  • Consumers may see heated tobacco products for sale, which may become available for purchase.
  • Vapers will not notice much difference because nicotine vaping e-liquids have already been made available in retail shops for some time.

For manufacturers, merchant importers, and local retailers:

  • Selling and distribution of e-liquids, vaping gadgets, and heated tobacco products manufactured from tobacco has been legalised.
  • The same laws that prohibit businesses from advertising and selling to minors (those under 18 years old) apply when it comes to vaping products and heated tobacco products.

Vaping– Healthier and Safer than Smoking

The dangers of every cigarette smoked is severe and many. Among the 7,000 chemicals found in combustible cigarettes, at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 60 of these cause cancer. Smoking brings harm to nearly every organ and system in the human body. Aside from cancer and acute leukaemia, it also leads to different types of heart and pulmonary complications. Long-term use impairs the body’s immune function which ultimately results in more ailments suffered. Non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke are also vulnerable to these risks.

E-cig starter kits and other e-liquid vaping gadgets, on the other hand, contains much less harmful chemicals. Though a range of toxicants has been found in vapour, these were in much lower levels and are unlikely to cause any damage to the body.

Using an e-cig starter kit offers a healthy transition to eventually becoming nicotine free. The different nicotine concentrations can be used to gradually lessen nicotine intake, minimising withdrawal symptoms which are often too strong to slow down or even entirely prevent successful smoking cessation. Smokers switching to e-liquid vaping are highly likely to reduce their health and death risks, especially for those around them.

Ministry of Health Position on Electronic Cigarette Use

Though the Ministry of Health did not have much confidence at recommending electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation at the start of 2017, there was a sudden change in views by the end of the year. The serious and sincere intent of the government to help smokers to quit and significantly reduce the harmful effects smoking brings, shifted their position.

The potential of electronic cigarette and vaping to contribute to Smokefree 2025 was established. Smokers got encouragement from the Ministry of Health to use vaping products like e-cig starter kit to quit. Local stop smoking services provide the support smokers seek, giving them the best chance of quitting successfully. Aside from cessation tools, e-cigs and vaping gadgets can also help in improving public health.