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Queenstown wrong to snob vaping this summer - VTANZ

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

"Queenstown Lakes District Council’s move to ban vaping on the popular beaches of Queenstown, Frankton, Wanaka and Glenorchy is sadly based on snobbery not scientific evidence," says Jonathan Devery, spokesperson for the Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ).

The representative of independent Kiwi vape businesses says the council is to be congratulated for hitting cigarette smoking and introducing a three-month smoke-free trial this summer. However, he says, including vaping in the ban is misguided and only stigmatises the best smoking cessation tool New Zealand has ever had.

"Queenstown Lakes District Council claims that vaping creates second-hand smoke issues, is smelly and offensive, while the Mayor says it’s all about helping the district become smoke-free. Sadly, by confusing vaping with smoking, they’re only hindering, not helping, national progress on New Zealand’s Smoke Free 2025 ambition.

"Alarmingly, Queenstown Lakes District Council seems to have based its decision on how vaping looks. They clearly don’t realise that if they want local and visiting smokers to quit tobacco, they actually have to enable vaping, not demonise it. Vaping is the most effective way for smokers to quit tobacco and international research shows it has no second-hand impact on others, so what’s the problem?"

Mr Devery says the latest Central Otago vaping ban follows similar moves by other councils throughout New Zealand this year.

"Hamilton City, not Queenstown Lakes District Council, is actually the one showing progressive leadership when it comes to smoke free. Earlier this year, the Hamilton City Council voted to keep vaping out of the city’s smoke free policy and plan. They know the essential role vaping plays in successfully helping smokers to give up cigarettes."

Switching from smoking to vaping has substantial health benefits and is key to achieving Smoke Free 2025 - something the Ministry of Health, Health Promotion Agency, health pressure group ASH, Quitline New Zealand, and public health leader Hapai Te Hauora all openly acknowledge.

Early this year the Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa, launched a ‘vape-to-quit-smoking’ website as part of a concerted public information campaign.

"Sadly, given completely unrelated vaping issues in the United States, mostly due to people buying illicit street substances, our Government now seems determined to crack down on vaping with legislation expected this year. This comes despite vaping massively contributing to our falling smoking rates, and not one vaping-related death ever reported in New Zealand. Now it seems Queenstown Lakes District Council has also decided to freak out, which is completely unwarranted and unnecessary.

"It’s a real worry that a key element of the national Smoke Free strategy is still not understood by many of our city and districts councils. By treating smoking and vaping the same and by putting their personal views first, councils are banishing the best tool they have to eliminate the dangers of tobacco in their community," says Mr Devery.

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