Hāpai Te Hauora strongly support MP Marama Fox and the Māori Party calls for subsidising vape devices as an alternative to cancer and ill health causing cigarettes. “We see this (vaping) as a viable treatment option that should be considered to stop tobacco related illness. The fact is that vaping devices like electronic-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoked cigarettes. When quality vaping devices are used well, then the outcomes can be very positive for our communities” says Lance Norman, Hāpai Te Hauora CEO.
Lance Norman is pleased that Prime Minister Bill English is open to the idea of subsiding electronic cigarettes. “It is a way of saving costs for the tax payer by reducing avoidable hospitalization and other cancer causing treatments. There should be a breakdown of how much we pay for respiratory readmissions, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and SUDI costs annually. I believe this is an excellent way to save money and save lives”. Electronic cigarettes have always been discussed as an alternative to smoking by Hāpai Te Hauora since early 2014 through Te Ara Hā Ora, the national Māori tobacco control advocacy service established by Hāpai Te Hauora. “We have closely monitored the development and use of e-cigarettes” Says Zoe Hawke, General Manager for the National Tobacco Control Advocacy Service.
One of the key success factors for vaping devices to make a significant contribution to the government's Smokefree 2025 goal is to legalise nicotine E- liquid as a consumer product. In addition there should be no increase in costs or taxes applied to the liquid or equipment that is currently being used by thousands of kiwis and many Māori and Pacific ex-smokers and those who are trying to stop smoking and live Smokefree lives. This is a step forward towards our Smokefree 2025 goal, it is important that we simply do not ignore the thousands of smokers who are interested in vaping to stop smoking and that have tried everything else. And, we acknowledge others who may not want to vape, however, we must provide a suite of effective services as part of our duty of care for all New Zealanders. Any e-cigarette policy developed in New Zealand should be done 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. Concurrent tobacco control efforts should continue to be maintained and should also be intensified, if regulatory measures are applied to ECs (e.g. in supply, marketing, excise, product information and warnings), more stringent regulatory measures should be in place or introduced for smoked tobacco products.
Hāpai Te Hauora are very grateful for the support of vaping and e-cigarettes by our government leaders, the vaping community and those in health who fully understand the struggles of trying to stop smoking, “because for New Zealanders, it’s about saving lives and reducing the number of burials at our cemeteries because of smoking .” says Zoe.