Monday 16th of September
Government appears set for Uninformed Knee Jerk Reaction on Vaping
A surge in teen vaping rates and a series of deaths being linked to vaping has resulted in a number of bans on the sales
of flavoured Vape juice products in the United States. Though it is widely acknowledged that vaping is far less harmful
than smoking tobacco, the sudden rush to ban flavoured Vape Juice in certain US states seems to ignore the fact
approximately Eleven million Americans are now using E-cigarettes. There has been little to no consultation.
A recent series of deaths and hospitalisations in the US linked to Vaping have been cited by New York and Michigan as
one of the reasons they have abruptly announced bans on the sale of flavoured E-liquids. Unfortunately what has so far
gone largely unreported by most media outlets is that there appears to be evidence that the recent series of deaths and
hospitalisations is linked to the improper manufacture of E-liquids, unsafe additives and the use of THC (psychoactive
component of cannabis) containing E-liquids.
It has been reported that in New Zealand the Ministry of Health is also considering a ban on flavoured E-liquids. The
Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa seems to be unaware that illicit or improperly manufactured E-liquids are
largely responsible for deaths and hospitalisation in the US and appears to be in general uninformed on the topic of
Vaping. Jenny Selesa is planning on introducing legislation that would ban all flavoured E-liquids except tobacco,
menthol and mint.
There is no word yet on whether the proposed legislation will attempt to educate consumers or better regulate Vaping
products. Without a doubt this legislation will remove choice for the tens of thousands of New Zealanders who use
flavoured liquids and likely result in more New Zealanders smoking tobacco.
It is also important to keep Vaping related harm in perspective:
Deaths resulting from smoking each year-
According to the Ministry of Health approximately 5000 New Zealanders die each year due to smoking or second hand smoke
exposure. And according to the World Health Organisation more than eight million people die each year globally due to
cigarette smoking and or exposure to second hand smoke.
Deaths resulting from alcohol consumption each year-
The Health Promotion Agency (a Crown entity) estimates that between 600 to 800 New Zealanders die each year due to
alcohol related causes. Alcohol related harm also goes far beyond the number of deaths attributed to it each year in the
form of domestic abuse, hospitalisations and the increased burden it causes public services. The WHO estimates that
three million people die each year globally from alcohol related causes.
It is disappointing to see the real benefits of Vaping being ignored by lawmakers, countless numbers of people who never
thought that they could quit using tobacco products have been able to do so using E-cigarettes and an entire industry
has sprung up around the technology that has rapidly displaced tobacco smoking. Sadly it looks as though lawmakers will
opt for the blunt instrument of a ban instead of better regulation of the Vaping industry which would be far less likely
to take away choice from tens of thousands of New Zealanders.