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Vaping bill could create more community harm - AVCA

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA) will challenge Parliament’s Health Select Committee tomorrow morning, saying the Government’s vaping bill in its current form runs the risk of protecting Big Tobacco.

Director of AVCA, Nancy Loucas, says the submission highlights some glaring omissions that prevent the bill from being comprehensive and risk proportionate. It also warns that vaping must be regulated differently to smoking, given it’s considerably safer and effective in helping smokers quit tobacco.

"We make it very clear that the unintended consequences of such prohibitive regulation will not only make safer nicotine products (SNP) less accessible, less diverse and less appealing but will actually protect cigarette interests. It would discourage smoking cessation and provide fertile ground for the creation of a flourishing black market which would create even more harm in communities," says Ms Loucas.

AVCA’s submission says the legislation must be a weapon in the fight against combustible tobacco smoking and guided by the national goal of SmokeFree 2025. However, proposals within the bill demonstrate a total lack of understanding and consultation with consumers on how people use vaping to kick tobacco.

Limiting flavours to menthol, mint and tobacco in non-specialist vape retailers such as supermarkets, service stations and dairies is laudable in its attempt to limit youth access. Alarmingly, however, the move would also limit the choices adult smokers have to access popular vape flavours, she says.

"If the Government must limit flavours in retailers other than specialist vape shops, there needs to be at least fruit and dessert flavours available alongside menthol, mint and tobacco." The submission further notes: "Most former smokers found their flavour profile amongst the fruit and dessert e-liquid flavours and avoided tobacco, mint, and menthol as they were too similar to combustible cigarettes."

AVCA also states it remains essential for smokers to know there are alternative and far less harmful products to cigarettes available.

"In our view advertising should be controlled, but not banned."

Nancy Loucas is scheduled to present to the Health Select Committee on the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill, via Zoom, at 10.30am on Wednesday, 8 April. Submissions can be watched on www.facebook.com/hescnz.

AVCA’s submission also covers off the proposed prohibition of vaping in legislated smokefree areas, and technical aspects including flavour content, packaging, labelling and health warnings, and manufacturing guidelines.

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