Ministry of Health issues press release promoting the many benefits of e-cigarettes over combustible cigarettes as part of their Smokefree 2025 campaign
On October 11th, the Ministry of Health in New Zealand released an updated policy statement regarding e-cigarettes. They believe that vaping can help them reach their “smokefree 2025” goal. They hope that the success shown in other countries who support vaping can be replicated in New Zealand. The government’s decision could also have a significant impact on the vaping industry across the world, as another industrialized nation joins the United Kingdom in spearheading the effort to leverage e-cigarettes to stop preventable death. This could help legitimize the reputation of vaping, especially in the public health community.
New Zealand’s Updated Stance On Vaping
One of the main reasons they felt confident in taking this position is the total lack of evidence connecting vaping to a significant amount of never-smokers picking up e-cigarettes. In light of this, they feel that the harm reduction of vaping over smoking is well worth the potential risks. They also dismissed concerns that accepting vaping in society will slow down, or even reverse, plummeting smoking rates. Acknowledging that e-cigarettes may actually bolster those declining rates, they do question to what degree will vaping lead more quitting attempts. In 2011 they committed to working toward reducing the overall number of smokers in the country to virtually none by 2025. As vaping continues to grow in popularity and acceptance with health officials, it’s becoming an increasingly viable option for governments looking to reduce the number of smoking-related deaths each year. This is especially true, the release says, in the case of individuals who have tried and failed to quit smoking using traditional nicotine replacement therapies such as gum or patches. For these smokers, vaping could prove to be a godsend. But perhaps most telling about New Zealand’s choice is their proximity and relation to Australia, one of the strictest countries in the world when it comes to vaping.
Importance Of Government Level Policy
In Australia, the official policy of the government is an all-out ban on e-cigarettes. They view nicotine as a poison, and therefore anything that has nicotine in it should be extraordinarily regulated or banned altogether. The problem is that nicotine is far from a deadly poison, with most experts agreeing that the effect of nicotine alone is most similar to caffeine. In spite of this, Australia has dug in on their choice. Just last week Australian Health Minister, Greg Hunt said about the possibility of legalization, “It’s not going to be happening on my watch as far as I’m concerned.” Being that New Zealand’s closest partner and ally is the much more powerful Austrailia, it’s great to see them unafraid go entirely against the grain to save millions of lives.
The more governments that come out in support of vaping, the more trusted claims of its harm reduction value become. The UK is widely regarded as the best example of incorporating e-cigarettes into existent smoking cessation policies and programs. Taking this route has led them to enjoy the lowest smoking rates they’ve ever recorded, saving countless lives in the process. It’s critical that we spread the truth about vaping to the smokers in our lives. This is the only way that we can work toward building a smoke-free world, by getting more and more smokers to buy into the idea of quitting using vaping.
Do you think it’s essential for more countries to come out in support of vaping? How do you feel about governments that outright ban vaping, like Australia’s? What can we do to keep spreading the truth even in the face of skeptical masses? Let us know what you think in the comments.