Can the Government get New Zealand smokefree by 2025?

The AM Show 10/06/2019

A new website launched by the Government to provide "clear and credible" information about vaping versus smoking aims to help New Zealand be smokefree by 2025.

However, fears that vaping may be a gateway into smoking, rather than a lifeline out, have been raised. 

A 2018 US Congress-led report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine assessed 10 studies on the question of vaping leading to smoking.

"The evidence base was large enough and consistent enough and strong enough to conclude there's an association between e-cigarette use and ever-use of combustible tobacco [cigarettes]" report committee member Adam Leventhal said.

But Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says the evidence is not substantial enough to worry about. 

She says the website is a tool for adults addicted to smoking to help them quit.

Vaping as a tool to quit smoking for adults, works.

"I announced last year we would be regulating vaping because we want to make sure that the things that go into the vaping machine is actually safe for our people," she said.

The director of vaping business Alt New Zealand, Jonathan Devery, backs the Government website, saying people can use it to make a well-informed decision.

"We take enquiries every day from people who are interested in our products and interested in getting further information - now they've got the information there, they can make an educated decision," said Devery.

"We see a lot of people waiting for that extra level of credibility which obviously this website provides. I think you will see a switch in people looking for vape products," he told Newshub.

The website is part of a wider plan to have New Zealand smoke-free by 2025 - it will be paired with wider legislation which is co-designed by those with New Zealand's highest smoking rates - Maori women.

 "The website is only one thing," said Salesa.

We're finalising an action plan to get us to smoke-free 2025 and that's being finalised right now.

 "One of the things we're encouraging is to have our by Maori for Maori providers and our Pacific for Pacific providers to sit down and co-design how to get people to quit smoking, and we know from Maori providers, some of the most effective have been the programmes Maori women have co-designed," she said.

The AM Show / Newshub reporters Vita Molyneux & Ella Prendergast