“The latest outburst from New Zealand’s Asthma and Respiratory Foundation (ARFNZ) directed at the Ministry of Health is disappointing, but sadly not surprising,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates).
Her comments follow ARFNZ’s claim that the Ministry of Health is not striking the right balance with New Zealand’s vaping regulations.
“ARFNZ’s scaremongering about vaping is ongoing and often without any foundation. The reality is New Zealand has adopted a successful Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) strategy which has put Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 well on track. ARFNZ’s attacks should be squarely on combustible cigarettes,” says Ms Loucas.
CAPHRA is stunned that ARFNZ continues on its path of neo prohibitionism in light of the latest official statistics. Earlier this month, it was revealed that New Zealand’s smoking rate had fallen to an historic low of 8% of adults smoking daily, down from 9.4% a year ago.
The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill is currently progressing through Parliament. It aims to limit the appeal of and access to cigarettes.
“The smokefree amendment bill is what ARFNZ should now be solely focused on. Instead, they seem determined to constantly undermine and criticise the Ministry of Health’s position on vaping. Cigarettes are the problem here, not safer nicotine alternatives which are saving thousands of Kiwi smokers’ lives every year,” says Ms Loucas.
CAPHRA says New Zealand’s smokefree and THR policies are being studied and replicated by many other countries, with a recent parliamentary delegation from Malaysia visiting to understand how Kiwis have halved their smoking rate in the past decade. New Zealand’s regulatory framework was also crucial for recent regulation in the Philippines, and even Thailand is looking at New Zealand to construct their own regulations.
“We urge Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall to continue down the THR path which is delivering positive results. Adult Kiwi smokers are successfully switching to vaping – a very effective and harm-reduced smoking cessation tool. Now is not the time to get side-tracked by side issues
“We also urge ARFNZ to follow the science and the facts. Let’s focus on the real issue here – combustible tobacco,” says Nancy Loucas.
For credible Ministry of Health-led advice, Kiwi smokers keen to quit cigarettes should visit: www.vapingfacts.health.nz/
The Right2Switch petition urging the WHO to respect consumer rights and end its lies against vaping has now been signed by over 10,000 people. It can be viewed and signed at https://change.org/v4v-petition
For a free digital media repository on tobacco harm reduction in Asia Pacific – including media releases, images, and graphics – please visit https://apthrmedia.org