Sunday, 23 February 2020

Vaping crackdown condemns another generation to smoking


“Labour’s plan to regulate vaping in the same way as cigarettes is the most damaging public health policy in a generation”, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The ban on vaping flavours and advertising will kill off the best tool for quitting smoking and will condemn more people to cigarettes for longer. Labour is cracking down on an alternative that is 95 per cent safer than tobacco as if it was tobacco.

“Smoking kills 5,000 Kiwis each year, with massive health and economic costs. Vaping is the best technology ever invented for people to stop smoking. Thousands have quit and probably had their lives saved by it. Vaping is also the biggest threat to the government’s tobacco tax revenue. So what is it doing? Cracking down on it, of course.

“Jenny Salesa says she’s acting because parents and schools are concerned students are being targeted by vaping companies. While this is useful information, it’s only anecdote, and it directly contradicts her other statements that:

‘Only 0.5 per cent of students who have never smoked vape daily.’
‘Some people worry that vaping might be a ‘gateway’ to smoking for young people, but there is no clear evidence for this.’

“Salesa is utterly confused and is acting on anecdote rather than evidence.

“Meanwhile, 90 per cent of vaping sales come from flavours, so banning them will mean more adults smoking for longer. And how does Labour believe New Zealand’s 500,000 smokers will be encouraged to quit when they cannot learn about vaping through ads?

“Smokers must have the incentive and the information to switch. Flavours, advertising and other incentives must remain. Vaping is a much safer alternative to smoking and should not be placed on a level playing field with cigarettes.

“Punishing tobacco taxes haven’t stopped people smoking. Meanwhile, shop owners get bashed up because the tax means bricks of tobacco are like gold bars in their cupboards. But the free market has delivered a safe, innovative solution for smokers wanting to quit. Thousands of smokers are switching to this much safer alternative.

“This is the worst piece of policymaking we have seen from Labour since it banned offshore oil and gas exploration without evidence or consultation and drove thousands of guns underground with its misguided firearms laws.”

“It’s difficult not to wonder if Jenny Salesa is working with the tobacco companies. The Government wants to retain $2 billion in tobacco tax revenue and the tobacco companies want to keep people hooked on cigarettes.

“ACT stands for freedom. We're standing up for vaping because it’s the right thing to do. Vaping saves lives and, frankly, it is nobody else’s business if adults want to do it.

“The only good news is that Jenny Salesa’s dithering means there’s no time to pass this law before Parliament rises for the election. ACT will be campaigning to ensure it never sees the light of day.”