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Every year, smoking is liable for 5,000 deaths in New Zealand, including 500 non-smokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke. This toll is higher than all the deaths, put together, from alcohol, other drugs, drowning, road crashes, suicide, murder and earthquakes. This alarming figure has prompted the Ministry of Health to resort to a drastic and more aggressive course of action to ensure the protection of Kiwi families and children from the gruesome burden of smoking-related health risks and deaths. To support the Smokefree 2025 goal, the New Zealand government has strengthened their position on the use of vape devices and vapour kits as effective tools for smoking cessation.

New Zealand’s Smokefree 2025 Goal

Tobacco use and inhaling secondhand smoke is the number one cause of preventable diseases and deaths in New Zealand. In response to this, a commitment to a Smokefree 2025 goal was pledged by the government in 2011. The objective of this target is to lessen smoking rates and keep smoking prevalence at a low 5%. The NZ government also agreed to put tobacco regulation at minimal levels. This is not putting a total ban on smoking but an action against the dangers of tobacco so that by the year 2025, hardly anyone in New Zealand will smoke.

Smokefree 2025 aims to achieve:

  • Protection of children and young adults under 18 from marketing and promotional exposure to tobacco products
  • Further restrict minors from access to tobacco
  • Cutdown tobacco demand and supply
  • Provide ready support and the best possible lower-risk alternatives to smoking which includes starter vapour kits and other vape devices
  • Strengthen auahi kore (smokefree) and promote a non-smoking lifestyle as the new norm

A smokefree environment leads to:

  • Healthier homes, communities, and a healthier NZ
  • Lowered risk of children acquiring the bad habit of smoking
  • Money saved on expensive packs of cigarettes
  • Cleaner, safer air, free from secondhand smoke which accounts for 500 premature deaths yearly
  • Better support for the health and well-being of families and whānau

For consumers, Smokefree 2025 means:

  • Selling of ecig juices and vape devices within New Zealand is legal
  • Heat-not-burn or heated tobacco products will become available for purchase

For manufacturers, importing merchants, and local retailers:

  • Distribution of e-juices including nicsalts and vape devices from starter vapour kits to advanced vaping systems has been legalised
  • The same law prohibiting businesses to advertise and sell to minors apply when it comes to vaping gadgets
The smoking ban in schools, early childhood institutions, and indoor workplaces remains in place, however it’s up to individual companies and their management to decide whether or not to prohibit vaping in their policies.

The Growing Support on Vaping in NZ

The commercialisation of vaping brought about varied views with mixed support in New Zealand, especially in its infancy. In 2017, the NZ Ministry of Health released a statement that they were not confident in recommending the use of vape products for cessation of smoking due to insufficient evidence. This, however, has drastically changed, like the ministry’s stand on the issue, public position also shifted towards acceptance.

The popularity and timeliness of vaping led to more research and studies, which found the results were most promising. Following this, towards the end of 2017, the Ministry of Health announced a change that greatly impacted the vaping community. The government publicised their intent to focus on the harm-reduction benefits of vaping to support smokers in their attempt to quit. Vaping, then, was considered as a useful smoking cessation tool.

Vaping Better than Smoking

A lit cigarette poses harm not only the smoker but also to those around them. Cigarettes contain, on average, around 7,000 chemicals, 250 of which are considered harmful, and 60 of these can cause cancer. Not only is it a leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking negatively affects almost all organs and systems in the body, causing from acute leukaemia to cancer of the mouth down to the rectum. Long-term exposure largely impairs the immune function, leaving the body at a much higher risk, in faster deterioration.

On the other hand, vapour kits and vape devices have substantially fewer chemicals. Though ecig juices can contain nicotine and a range of toxicants, these have been found at much lower levels. The tested concentrations are also minimal, meaning they are unlikely to cause harm to vapers or bystanders.

Vaping systems offer a healthier transition to eventually kicking the nicotine habit. The varying nicotine levels can be used for the benefit of cessation. By gradually reducing nic strength until the body has adapted, withdrawal symptoms are minimised. Withdrawal symptoms can be strong enough to cause a lot of smokers to relapse. With vaping, the cessation success rate of smokers has increased. Thus, the Ministry of Health was right to recommend vape devices in its aim to realise its Smokefree 2025 goals.