Hāpai Te Hauora congratulate the Associate Minister for Health Hon. Jenny Salesa on the successful passage of the long-awaited Vaping Bill last night. Many community leaders contributed to the process with over 1200 submissions and engagement from Māori and Pacific communities throughout. The Bill acknowledges that vaping products have lower health risks than smoking and aims to support smokers to switch to these less harmful products.
Interim CEO for Hāpai Te Hauora, Jason Alexander says "It is good news that New Zealand will now have a regulated market for vaping products safeguarding the quality and distribution of vaping products, therefore, ensuring better safety for their consumers."
"A lot of advocacy was focussed on keeping vape devices away from young people so now advertising, sponsorships, vaping in workplaces and vaping for under 18-year-olds will all be banned. Our organisation especially acknowledges those who pushed for this legislation to happen before the general election, while advocating for improvements to ensure the legislation strikes the right balance between protecting young people and supporting people who want to use vaping to quit tobacco" says Alexander.
Supplementary order papers were submitted to help shape the Bill that would allow people who sell vaping products from retail premises to apply to the Director-General of Health to become a specialist vape retailer. Communications promoting the use of vaping to quit tobacco are regulated under the legislation, ensuring best practice is followed from a harm reduction perspective.
Hāpai has always advocated that communities and whānau are supported to receive the correct information around what vape products are and what they can and cannot do to help them quit smoking.
General Manager for the National Tobacco Control Advocacy Services Stephanie Erick says that achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal is their public health priority for many reasons. She points out that this Bill has absorbed a lot of energy, time and resources so she hopes it brings some much-needed pace to get to the Smokefree 2025 goal.
"It has always been our focus to prioritise the needs of families and communities most adversely affected by cigarettes. The worse thing that could happen is that the Vaping Bill safeguards the monopoly of the most dangerous product, rather than the less harmful vaping and oral nicotine products" says Erick.
"I am really keen to see a National Smokefree Action Plan next so that communities and the sector can get a better idea of where to place their efforts to achieving Smokefree for themselves within their families and communities and eventually for Aotearoa." Says Erick