The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ could be putting the Smokefree 2025 goal at risk through their scare-mongering tactics and attempts to influence the new Government to turn their backs on a sensible, harm reduction approach to smoking cessation. Hāpai Te Hauora has supported the Ministry of Health and previous ministers’ compassionate and progressive stance on e-cigarettes which championed a realistic and pragmatic pathway for people to become smoke free.
National Advisor for Hāpai Te Hauora, Dr. Lance O'Sullivan sees the effects of smoking on a day to day basis as a GP in Kaitaia and states "If it was really as simple as just telling people to quit, a smokefree Aotearoa would have been achieved years ago. But the reality is that it’s bloody hard to quit, and we have seen little change in Māori smoking rates. We need to open our minds to new approaches to eliminating tobacco harm, and the fact is e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco".
Hāpai has always supported approaches that provide whānau with mechanisms to stop smoking which are appropriate to them and their circumstances. E-cigarettes are working for many Māori and there is emerging evidence that supports their efficacy for helping people to stop smoking.
Hāpai advocate for e-cigarettes and their use and regulation alongside reducing the supply of traditional tobacco, which will also help us to achieve Smokefree 2025. Less traditional tobacco, and more access to a less harmful product that supports people to quit - has to be good for everyone.
"We have seen a sustained campaign against e-cigarettes from the Foundation. We urge the Minister of Health David Clark and Associate Minister of Health with responsibility for tobacco control Jenny Salesa to consider carefully their response to this lobbying activity from the Asthma and Respiration Foundation as a wrong step now will put Smokefree 2025 out of reach for our most affected communities."