Last week, the New Zealand Government announced that it would appropriately regulate the vaping market. They did this because they realise that vapes and e-cigarettes, are a less harmful alternative to cigarettes while being a credible quit-smoking aid. Why? because unlike traditional cigarette, these products do not burn tobacco and create smoke. They are smoke-free.
In fact, New Zealand's Associate Minister of Health, Jenny Salesa, said: “We are supporting New Zealanders to be healthier by helping smokers switch to safer products, and at the same time protecting people who don’t smoke, especially young people.”
"Vaping is a significantly less harmful alternative to smoking and it has been used as an effective tool to quit smoking," Ms Salesa said in a statement.
"However, it is not completely risk-free and that's why we need to make it as safe as possible and protect young people from taking it up."
Back in Australia, Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi welcomed the public acknowledgement by the New Zealand Government that smoke-free products are a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.
On the announcement, the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association chairman, Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn said, “The progress in New Zealand highlights how far Australia is falling behind best practice by denying safer alternatives to smokers who are unable to quit”.
This comes off the back of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists who last month came out in support of the legalisation and regulation of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and other vaporised nicotine products to facilitate their use as harm reduction tools.
As we know, Public Health England have stated that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes. There are an additional 45+ studies that show that these products are less harmful or help smokers quit for good.
Further, the NZ Government announcement makes it clear that there is “no robust evidence” that vaping is a gateway to smoking.
It’s about time the Australian Government followed our NZ mates, and sensibly regulated vaping to give Australians a better way to quit smoking.