The increasing rate of cash and cigarette related theft has inspired a New Zealand vaping business to offer free product consignment for dairy owners considering replacing their tobacco stocks. It is estimated that more than 1,200 aggravated robberies are committed against dairy businesses each year. New Zealand-owned vaping business, NZVAPOR, has recently responded to this by offering free product consignment to dairies in becoming tobacco- free.
NZVAPOR owner, QJ Satchell (Ngāpuhi), states that "convenience stores can swap their tobacco for another product that we know is growing in sales, without outlaying a single cent. It may not be 100% perfect for the smoker but the flow on effect is that the smokers are left with a great alternative which, let’s be honest, they were probably going to move to at some stage anyway".
This solution contrasts to the recent government response of supporting new fog cannon technology, which are intended to shock and confuse the intruder, forcing them to retreat from the property before taking any items. Hāpai Te Hauora, alongside other health sector bodies, have questioned whether it could be more beneficial to remove traditional tobacco products or replace tobacco with harm minimisation products, rather than investing in security systems as the solution.
Hāpai Te Hauora CEO, Lance Norman, states that "like many members of the community, Hāpai is concerned for store owners impacted by tobacco-related violence and we also support harm reduction products as one pathway to achieving our smokefree 2025 goal."
Hāpai Te Hauora Tobacco Control Advocacy Manager, Mihi Blair, extends on Norman’s statement: "This violence reflects one negative outcome of not prioritising supply reduction. Supply reduction is what many in the sector and community advocate for; if tobacco weren’t readily available, there would be no reason to target and attack convenience stores for cigarettes".
Vaping devices have been the focus of recent research and media attention for their relative health benefits to cigarettes and ability to help smokers transition to a less harmful nicotine product. Norman agrees that one risk of introducing vaping devices is the continued market presence of tobacco companies, whose ruthless, cynical and dishonest behavior suggests their interest has only ever been on their financial health rather than the health of the 5,000 New Zealanders who die each year from their products.
NZVAPOR owner, QJ Satchell, states their business intention has always been to reduce harm and support whanau to live healthier, smoke-free lives, and are concerned that tobacco companies are seeking to break into the vaping market. “We want to reduce harm - for dairy owners and for those struggling with the addictions that were originally created by smoking tobacco”.