Thursday, 12 March 2020

Vaping legislation the worst of both worlds


“By restricting adults from accessing vaping products and failing to stop children from doing so, the Government’s vaping legislation represents the worst of both worlds”, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“People will die as a result of this legislation. The ban on vaping flavours and advertising will kill off the best tool adults have to quit smoking and will condemn more people to cigarettes for longer. The Government 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.

“This law will lead to more smoking. Jenny Salesa’s own officials at the Ministry of Health told her that, by banning vaping ads and flavours, the proposed law creates a risk that ‘we fail to achieve the potential of vaping and other reduced-harm products to contribute towards Smokefree 2025.’ Fewer incentives and less information about vaping means fewer smokers will switch from tobacco.

“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.’

“But the legislation actually fails to take steps to stop kids vaping. This could be achieved by requiring ID when purchasing from a New Zealand vaping website, or when couriers drop off vaping products. Neither measure is in this law.

“90 per cent of vaping sales come from flavours, so banning them will mean more adults smoking for longer. And how does the Government 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.

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

“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.”