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Vaping ban in Hamilton makes absolutely no sense - AVCA

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA) is deeply disappointed that Hamilton City councillors unanimously resolved this morning to ‘include vaping alongside smoking as a prohibited activity in Smokefree areas in reference to the Smokefree Outdoor Areas Policy’.

"Over 10 years of scientific research shows that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than combustible tobacco and has helped millions quit smoking globally. Now, Hamilton’s councillors ban the best tool Waikato smokers have to kick their deadly habit for good. It’s unbelievably poor public health policy which will sadly only deliver more smokers," says Nancy Loucas co-director of AVCA.

She says only weeks ago Parliament passed the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act which legalises and heavily regulates vaping.

"So, Parliament legalises vaping in August and Hamilton City Council bans it in September! I know councillors love making policies, but this won’t do anything more to protect the kids. Vaping is now strictly regulated including the sale of flavours limited, advertising banned, and significant sanctions in place if anyone sells products to under 18-year-olds.

"Banning vaping in Hamilton’s central city streets, council parks and open spaces is not going to add any value. In fact, all it does is make it harder for smokers to switch to vaping, because why would you bother when both are treated just the same?"

Ms Loucas says last year Hamilton City Council was brave keeping vaping out of its Smokefree Outdoor Areas Policy. By now changing its position, the risk of tobacco harm in the community is heightened not reduced.

"Vaping is why we have a record low 12.5% overall smoking rate. It has been incredibly effective in getting smokers in the likes of Waikato off the death sticks. By now penalising vapers, you’re penalising the very thing that keeps thousands of locals off cigarettes.

"It’s like banning fast-food chains because they’re bad for you, then banning weight loss centres because they remind you of the fast-food chains. It makes absolutely no sense and is deeply disappointing for Waikato’s ex-smokers turned vapers," says Nancy Loucas.

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