On December 23, according to foreign news reports, New Zealand medical and anti-tobacco experts said on Friday that the surge in young people’s interest in e-cigarettes may undermine the government’s restrictions on the tobacco industry and its goal of getting people to quit smoking.
In response, Nancy Loucas, co-director of the New Zealand tobacco harm reduction consumer group AVCA, recently published a national newspaper front page report with the headline “Vaping – at 10” and emphasized the irony in the headline. “Why don’t we see smoking at 10 o’clock, drinking at 10 o’clock” and other media reports? This is all about e-cigarettes, which is ironic because it is the least harmful. “
Earlier this year, AVCA stated that the increasing number of negative reports on e-cigarettes was not accidental and coincided with the current political events taking place at the time. When the Cabinet was about to approve the latest e-cigarette regulations of the Ministry of Health and finalize the smoke-free action plan of Minister Dr. Ayesha Verrall, an attack on e- cigarettes emerged. Given that e-cigarettes are the most effective smoking cessation tool in New Zealand, some of the balance in the debate is. “
In a recent release, the organization mentioned similar destructive comments made on the Maori TV show The Hui, which claimed to have led to confrontations at home and school suspensions. Loucas emphasized that although it is unacceptable for young people to smoke e-cigarettes, this problem has been well resolved . “It is totally unacceptable for minors to smoke e-cigarettes. However, let us not forget that following last year’s smoke-free environment and e-cigarette control amendments, e-cigarette products are strictly R18 products.”
“The government now needs to take severe measures at the point of sale and impose the most severe penalties on those who are found to sell or supply goods to minors,” she said. In addition, recent data has eased people’s concerns that the rate of e-cigarette smoking among young people may rise. “Researchers at the University of Auckland surveyed more than 27,000 secondary school students last year and found that among 14- and 15-year-olds who had never smoked, only 0.8% were regular e-cigarettes. The researchers later confirmed that there are no young people in New Zealand. E-cigarette smoking epidemic,” Lucas added.
She went on to say that it is important to recognize the key role that e- cigarettes may play in achieving the smoke-free goal in New Zealand . “Let us not continue to undermine the best goal of achieving smoke-free. Enough measures have been taken to protect our young people. We now only need all retailers to enforce age restrictions. The roles of parents, families and schools are also crucial. “
At the same time, the long-awaited Australian Smoke-free 2025 Action Plan finally launched on Thursday, December 9, 2021. Although its goal is praised, it is a pity that it does not use e-cigarette products as an effective smoking cessation tool.
On the other hand, New Zealand’s Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Ayesha Verrall, was praised for cooperating with many health entities and collecting relevant opinions before finalizing the action plan . These include organizations, services, advocates, scholars, researchers, and individuals who have left their mark on their communities.