Hāpai Te Hauora as the National Tobacco Control Advocacy Service have always prioritised listening to what consumers using e-cigarettes to quit smoking are saying, and now they are thrilled that the Associate Minister of Health Peseta Sam Lotu-liga seems to be taking their views into consideration too.
The Associate Health Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has released a consultation document that includes the proposed change to the product's legal status. Currently the sale and supply of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is prohibited. However people are buying them online and importing directly for personal use. This creates a real barrier for people wanting to use e-cigs to quit.
Currently more than half a million New Zealanders still smoke tobacco, with its known harmful effects on their health.
Zoe Hawke, Manager of Hāpai Tobacco Control says that "Internationally, e-cigarette use has grown rapidly including in New Zealand, and in particular Māori and Pacific seem keen to give them a go to quit tobacco"
According to recent New Zealand research the adverse health effects of e-cigarettes are likely to be much lower than tobacco.
Hāpai supports e-cigarettes as a more preferable option to cigarettes and recommends that any policy on e-cigarettes should be developed with the primary aim of supporting the achievement of the Smokefree 2025 goal for all population groups in New Zealand, especially for high prevalence groups such as Māori and Pacific peoples.
Hāpai also strongly suggests that con-current tobacco control efforts should continue to be maintained and intensified alongside making e-cigs easily accessible and nicotine liquid legal to purchase.