From the left: Dr Janet Hoek, Becs, Prof Richard Edwards, Adrian, Lizzie, and Felicia (thanks Lineti for taking the pic!)

This week, Adrian, Lineti, Felicia and Lizzie from the Tobacco team attended a seminar run by Otago University on ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) and how this relates to our goal for a smoke-free 2025. In this presentation, we were given the latest research from recent studies of vapers and vaping behaviours. Sessions discussed how ENDS could address disparities in smoking and how ENDS fit within smokefree plans, such as the ASAP report.

It was a great chance to learn about the current research on vaping, especially within Aotearoa. We gained a lot from the day, and want to share our whakaaro with you.

Why do New Zealanders vape?

The studies they presented show most New Zealanders vape to help with smoking cessation (85%), to save money (90%), for health benefits, and because there is more public acceptance. Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, one of the least likely reasons a New Zealander will switch to vaping is because of doctor's advice (15%). This suggests messaging around vaping should focus on personal and whanau benefits, rather than trust in healthcare providers.

What do vapers believe?

That it is easier to quit than cigarettes, less harmful than smokes, and has greater health improvements.

What do vapers think about regulations on vaping?

Interestingly, many vapers believe there should be controls on vaping e.g buy in pharmacies and specialist shops. This includes support for minimum age for purchase. There are mixed views on bans on EC use in smokefree areas and on candy/fruit flavours or availability in all shops. Most opposed bans on advertising, especially for the effect on exposing children and non- smokers.

Adrian: " I learnt that an integrated approach of tobacco supply reduction and phased in ENDS is probably the preferred strategy- there is no “Silver Bullet”. I was impressed by the substantial amount of credible data regarding e-cigs in NZ already. Lastly, that Social Marketing and Public Information need to be as aggressive as Advertising".

Felicia: "We need to consider carefully how we advertise and sell ENDS product now or we could experience difficulties later on down the line. It made me think a bit more about whether dairies are the right place to sell ENDS products or if it should be restricted to only Vape shops and pharmacies. If we look at restricting ENDS products to be sold only in certain places then we should be pushing for tobacco supply reduction and restricting where it should be sold too."

Lizzie: "I learnt that vaping is yet another site of inequities for Maori- we have more work to do around availability and awareness of vaping. Maori are more likely than non- Maori to perceive vaping as hard to access e.g internet, education.

Lineti: These presentations made me think about the quality/utility of vapes being sold in our dairies. If we sold vapes in our dairies, there won’t be that repeat of customers coming in weekly… so what does that mean for the dairy owners?

How will what we've learnt influence our mahi?

It have given us more insight and understanding about ENDS product and will help guide our work with the “Stop the Stock” campaign in Kelston. It has also given us more motivation to push for tobacco supply reduction in our communities. Learning about the perceptions and barriers around vaping has been helpful on how to create and target our messaging.