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'Smokeless products are key to NZ's smoke-free future'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The New Zealand Initiative is celebrating World Smokefree Day (Thursday 31 May) as an opportunity to take a more compassionate approach to tobacco control policy.

A recent report by The New Zealand Initiative Smoke and Vapour: the changing world of tobacco harm reduction calls for a range of smokeless nicotine delivery products (e-cigarettes, snus, and heat-not-burn) to be made available to smokers wanting to cut down or quit.

Research Fellow and report author Jenesa Jeram says: "In order to help people quit smoking, policymakers first have to understand why people smoke in the first place.

Understanding the often complex lives of smokers, and respecting their needs and preferences, is a more compassionate way of achieving public health goals."

Jeram also believes that enabling access to these nicotine delivery products is consistent with the cornerstone of New Zealand’s tobacco control policy.

"One of the purposes of the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 was to reduce the harmful constituents in tobacco smoke and tobacco products. There are now a range of products available that do exactly that by delivering nicotine to users but not all the nasty by-products of cigarette smoke."

"Thanks to developments in technology, there is reason to be optimistic that New Zealand can make strides towards a smoke-free future."

Jeram concludes "Public health bodies around the world have recognised the role alternative nicotine delivery products play in tobacco harm reduction. As New Zealand policymakers consider a regulatory framework for these products, they would do well to consider the international body of evidence that already exists."

About the author:

Jenesa Jeram is a Research Fellow at The New Zealand Initiative, focusing mainly on social issues and lifestyle regulations.

Read more:

Smoke and Vapour: the changing would of tobacco harm reduction and a report summary are available on our website. The report gives some background of snus and heat-not-burn for those unfamiliar with these products, and makes several recommendations on how these products should be regulated.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health announced that vaping and heat-not-burn products can be legally sold and distributed in New Zealand. The Ministry is currently considering risk-proportionate regulations. The announcement can be found on their website, though The New Zealand Initiative notes that the original announcement had not explicitly excluded snus.

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