“Labour’s decision to regulate vaping in the same way as cigarettes is the most damaging public health policy in a generation”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“Restrictions on vaping flavours and a ban on advertising will kill off the best tool for quitting smoking and will condemn more people to cigarettes for longer. Labour has cracked down on an alternative that is 95 percent safer than tobacco as if it was tobacco.
“Smoking kills 5,000 Kiwis each year and has massive health and economic costs. Vaping is the best technology ever invented for people to stop smoking. Thousands have had their lives saved by it. But it is also the biggest threat to the government’s tobacco tax revenue. So Labour’s cracking down on it.
“Labour says it acted because parents and schools are concerned students are being targeted by vaping companies. This is only anecdote, though, and it directly contradicts the former Associate Health Minister’s 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.’
“Restricting flavours will mean more adults smoke for longer. 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. 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 whether Labour has worked with the tobacco companies on this law. The Government wants to retain $2 billion in tobacco tax revenue and the tobacco companies want to keep people hooked on cigarettes.
“ACT is standing up for vaping because it’s right. Vaping saves lives and, frankly, it is nobody else’s business if adults want to do it.”