Monday, July 15, 2024

Coalition vaping stance ignites health debate

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation says the heart and lung health of New Zealanders are at risk if the changes proposed by the new Coalition Government go ahead.

The Foundation says while it welcomes news of a ban on all disposable vapes and harsher penalties for those selling to minors, it is disappointed the Coalition will revoke legislation banning the sale of cigarettes to future generations, reducing nicotine levels and limiting the number of tobacco retailers.

Foundation Chief Executive, Letitia Harding says if the repeals made by the National-ACT-NZ First coalition go ahead, then there will be more hospitalisations and more deaths.

“The health and well-being of New Zealander’s are not at the forefront of this decision.”

“We strongly urge our new leaders to reconsider and think about the health of New Zealanders – especially the 700,000 living with respiratory conditions,” she says.

“We know, for example, that the ease of accessibility and normalisation of vapes has had a major influence on the uptake of vaping in our youth.”

Incoming Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon told the AM Show this morning that the changes the Labour Government made to the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 had “unintended consequences” and could lead to a bigger black market.

“The argument that a bigger black market could emerge is an argument that is used by big tobacco companies,” said Ms Harding.

Mr Luxon also said that vaping had helped reduce those smoking cigarettes.

“That’s simply not true,” Ms Harding says.

“Vaping has not displaced cigarette smoking – you have a whole load of non-smokers now regularly vaping, and there has been no FDA approval for vapes to be used as a smoking cessation tool.”

The Foundation wants the new Government to go further to tackle the youth vaping epidemic by banning all disposable vapes (including those with removable batteries), not allowing any more SVRs to be set up, supporting vaping harm education programmes for rangatahi, limiting nicotine content to 20 mg/mL for all vape products, banning of all front-of-store advertising and displays of vaping products, and re-visiting the prescription-only model.

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