“The latest report concluding that Australia’s anti-vaping regime is an utter failure reinforces New Zealand is on the right track with its tobacco control strategy,” says Nancy Loucas, co-founder of Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA).
Her comments follow Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) expert and medical practitioner Dr Colin Mendelsohn publishing a comprehensive review of Australia’s prescription-only regulations for nicotine vaping.
“Australia is living proof that vaping bans fail. Across the Tasman, the black market is thriving, teen vaping has skyrocketed, and Australia’s smoking rate remains unnecessarily high. In contrast, New Zealand is among 70 countries which have shown vaping regulation works, providing a much safer and supportive environment for ex-smokers,” says Ms Loucas.
New Zealand MPs on the Health Select Committee continue to assess submissions on the Government’s Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill.
The bill limits the number of retailers able to sell smoked tobacco products, prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone born in 2009 or after, and aims to make tobacco products less appealing and addictive.
“Politicians need to keep their eyes on the prize and smash deadly tobacco as hard as they can. As tempting as it may be to get side-tracked by vaping, they need to remember that an army of rules and regulations were legislated in 2020 with many still bedding in,” she says.
Regardless, AVCA urges the Government for more compliance checks and greater enforcement, believing ongoing retail breaches are denting public confidence.
“Rogue dairy owners who continue to sell vapes to minors need to be prosecuted. Dairies also setting up and registering as ‘specialist vape retailers’ so they can sell all the flavours also need to be tightened up. Overall, however, New Zealand’s regulations are working a million times better than Australia’s nicotine vaping ban,” she says.
Releasing his report, Dr Mendelsohn declared that ‘Australia’s experiment has failed. We need to accept that, admit the mistake, and move forward with a more realistic regulatory model to support Australia’s smokers and vapers.’
Last month a Malaysian political delegation visited New Zealand to see what it’s doing to achieve Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 – defined as five percent or fewer smoking regularly. With confirmation that Australia’s anti-vaping regime is failing, Ms Loucas is now calling for key members of the Australian Government to also visit, learn and listen.
“Our vaping regime is not perfect but it’s enabling smokers to switch to less harmful nicotine products and has been key to New Zealand’s overall smoking rate halving in the past decade. That’s how you do THR,” she says.
In its submission to Parliament, ASH reminded New Zealand MPs that ‘not one person has died from vaping in the 15 years it has been available here.’
“Australia bans vaping products while cigarettes remain readily available, killing 20,000 Australians every year. Banning the safer option makes no sense, with every measure showing Australia’s approach to tobacco control is a disaster. We were hopeful when the new Labor Government took office. It’s now time they took control,” says Nancy Loucas.
To read Dr Colin Mendelsohn’s full report titled ‘A 12-month review of Australia’s prescription-only regulations for nicotine vaping – a predictable policy failure’, visit: http://colinmendelsohn.com.au/report/