The Vaping Bill passed its second reading around 11pm last night moving with urgency under extended hours in the remaining three sitting days before Parliament adjourns for the general election. Only two days earlier Hāpai Te Hauora and a number of Smokefree champions led the call for stronger legislation in the bill to support whānau who want to quit smoking and choose to do that by vaping.
Selah Hart, CEO, Hāpai Te Hauora says "It’s good to see this Bill reach a 2nd reading because it is important to public health but there are still a few tweaks needed before we can pull out the celebration banners"
Stephanie Erick says: "Access to good products, to flavours and effective advice at the same time will maximise the effectiveness of this legislation. Community organisations and peer support vaping support services need to increase their engagement with Māori, Pacific, adults and whānau. The current stop smoking services available can only reach a small percentage of smokers, we need the other options and plenty of them. "
Hāpai Te Hauora support the Supplementary Order Paper to allow for a slightly different retail model so that experienced, knowledgeable, responsible and expert vape stores that are approved by the Director-General of Health are not shut down because they don’t have 70% turnover for vape products - one of the limitations of the Bill in its current form.
Selah Hart says "Our organisation supports harm-reduction models and tools to help our whānau address any addictions they are facing. In this particular case we find no need for the Bill’s addition to ban oral nicotine patches. These products are non-tobacco and used by at least 10,000 New Zealanders, is far more safer than smoking with no evidence that they are attractive to young people, so we hope this addition to the Bill is dropped".
Hāpai Te Hauora want community services and peer support groups the ability to continue supporting their communities to quit smoking. Erick says "Our organisation supports an exemption for community health groups when they have been authorised by the Director-General and the message has been approved by a qualified health worker. "
Fay Selby-Law, General Manager, National SUDI Coordination Services says "Hāpu māmā smoking rates have been stubbornly high for Māori and we need local programmes that currently work in our communities to be funded and amplified across the country, so these smaller local support services should not be cut off by this Bill"
Localised programmes are important for communities of young adults, Māori, Pacific and low socio economic groups because they have very low access rates of mainstream services and basically never use them to quit smoking. Selby-Law says "We need more effective advice and information for marginalised communities who cannot get to online or specialist vape shops like many hapū māmā who are smoking."
Erick says "The Bill must ensure community groups can share information and provide advice in ways that are appropriate and useful for their communities."
"NZ continues to accommodate a deadly product - cigarettes- that remain widely available at any street corner dairy. This is unfair and the next step surely is to address this."