New Zealand has the Answer
It probably comes as no surprise, but our neighbours have once again demonstrated that a more pragmatic approach to tobacco harm reduction, is to the betterment of individuals and public health in general.
The ongoing debate in Australia, as to the efficacy and health benefits of switching to vaping, is currently our default position. We’re not moving forward, and we’re falling further behind other countries who have recognised the important role that tobacco harm reduction plays.
The unintended consequences of dismissing the science, is that smokers are left with a sense of speculation and uncertainty, and therefore far too many abide by the adage “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”.
The New Zealand government has adopted a more sensible approach. They recognise the fact that smoking kills 7 million people a year worldwide, and given the fact so so many have made the transition to vaping, we should embrace this technology, rather than ignoring the science.
The new regulations
The regulations focus on three main goals
1) Encouraging smokers who find it hard to quit to switch to less harmful nicotine products
Vaping products will be available for adults who smoke and there will be a public information campaign to educate people.
2) Make products safer
All nicotine products and devices will be registered and subject to safety and quality standards. There will be system for reporting any adverse reactions, a recall process for faulty devices and child-resistant closures.
3) Protecting non-smokers, especially children
The ban on sales to under 18 year olds will continue.
Vaping will be banned in smoke-free areas, although ‘this is a precautionary measure’ as there is no robust evidence of harm from second-hand vapour. Vaping will be allowed in vape shops,
Bans on advertising and promotion of vaping products will be retained and there will be some restrictions on display in retail stores
Comparison with Australia’s regulations
Tobacco harm reduction is barely recognised in Australia. Australian governments take a quit or die approach to smoking and a punitive approach to smokers.
Vaping is effectively banned in Australia and discouraged by most tobacco control, government, health and medical organisations. Smokers who are unable to quit are forced to either vape and break the law or take a two in three chance of being killed by smoking.
Australia continues to have a thriving black market with a lack of product safety and quality standards.
New Zealand smokers are fortunate to have this level of support by a government who genuinely understands their plight and is keen to support them. Their progress highlights how far Australia is falling behind best practice in denying safer alternatives to smokers who are unable to quit.
Media release: Vaping and smokeless tobacco products to be regulated
– Some of the contents of this article were from the original source. Athra.org.au
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