Hāpai Te Hauora, New Zealand’s largest Māori public health collective, is disappointed at the recent media coverage of a lab-based scientist flown to our shores which created unnecessary confusion among communities around the use of vaping devices. Last night on TV3’s The Project Dr Michelle Peace made comments that were misguiding for people trying to stop smoking cigarettes, we were surprised there was no counter perspective provided.
Hāpai is steadfast in its support for harm-reduction technologies such as vaping devices and e-liquid that are currently helping many people who smoke tobacco to stop smoking safely and successfully.
Lance Norman, CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora says it’s disappointing that the views of a person who is not a subject matter expert in tobacco control were given a prominent place on a prime time local current affairs show. Norman says "Having a person from the U.S.A. who is a lab scientist and has no experience of working with people to help them stop smoking is just irresponsible. She doesn’t seem to work with patients or in the public health space. What exactly qualifies her to comment on these issues?"
"There are hundreds of thousands of people vaping around the world and there is no sign yet of any major adverse health issues which compare to the vast, irreversible harm already caused by traditional tobacco products. The coverage spoke to something that simply doesn’t exist in NZ, no one had died from vaping and to talk about ‘pop-corn lung’ due to vaping is scare-mongering."
Professor Hayden McRobbie, New Zealand clinical expert on vaping says, popcorn lung is caused by a chemical called diatycl and stresses that smoked tobacco has more diatycl then vaping. Vaping has been around for nearly 10 years and no one has presented with this condition due to vaping.
Mihi Blair, General Manager for the National Tobacco Control Advocacy service says "if she cared about our communities, as a forensic toxicologist she could have mentioned the staggering amount of toxicity from smoking cigarettes and second hand smoke and that vaping doesn’t compare".
"We need to be able to offer our people the best possible chance to be smokefree." says Lance Norman CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora "We know from many smokers that vaping works for them, let’s not make a tough task even harder by spreading unnecessary fear."