Is New Zealand Ban On Smoking Playing Into Vape Industry’s Hands?
As the New Zealand government ramp up its anti-tobacco agenda, it seems like the growing interest in vaping among its youth is set to undermine it.
A new crackdown by the NZ government aims to ban young people from ever buying cigarettes in their lifetime, and while there’s a drop in smokers, there’s a rise in young people taking up vaping.
It’s a kick in the teeth for the tobacco industry in the South Pacific country, but the new regulations do not affect vaping, and some believe it will help promote vaping in the country.
New Zealand Smoking Regulations Set To Promote Vaping
With a crackdown on smoking and a look to try and ban young people from ever buying cigarettes in New Zealand again, the government appears to be playing into the vaping industry’s hands.
With new regulations on the table, it does state that vaping is much less harmful than smoking and can help some people to quit smoking.
Associate health minister Ayesha Verrall said, ‘Ultimately, tobacco is one of the deadliest substances that people can take. Vapes do not have the harms associated with them, and that’s why we’re taking a risk-proportionate approach to these choices.’
Although it appears not everyone is happy with the New Zealand government’s outlook on vaping.
The chief executive of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation (ARFNZ) Letitia Harding said although it’s a positive that a generation will be smoke-free, she had concerns about the idea that vaping could be used to quit smoking.
‘It’s fantastic having a generation that is smoke free,’ said Harding,’ ‘but there is some concern around the messaging of using vaping to quit smoking, and that vaping is less harmful or without harm.’
This goes against this UK study that claims that using vaping to quit smoking leads to more people stopping smoking than any other way.
Teenage New Zealanders Vaping Without Ever Having Smoked
But it appears that the problem in NZ teenagers isn’t about them vaping to stop smoking, but picking up a vape and trying e-cigarettes without ever having smoked cigarettes.
According to a nationwide survey, of 19,000 NZ secondary school students more than 25% of them regularly vaped, while about 15% reported smoking cigarettes.
The survey was led by ARFNZ and the Secondary Principals’ Association of NZ, who claim young people are picking up high nicotine vapes without ever having smoked a cigarette, and are becoming addicted to nicotine.
‘We absolutely have a problem of vaping and in 15 years we’ll be trying to get these youth out of vapes,’ Harding said.
Is The Rise In Teenage Vaping Good or Bad?
Nobody wants to see young people picking up a vape pen and start vaping. And the rise in people kicking smoking for good and vaping rise in popularity, especially among teenagers never to have smoked, is like one step forward two steps back.
ARFNZ may claim that vaping is a danger and that in the future, that’s where the problem will lie, but they and the government should realise young people are going to try these things, and if vaping wasn’t about, then they would smoke.
Campaigns to make sure young people never smoke again are good, but they won’t stop it outright. Young people cannot buy alcohol but they still get their hands on it.
Vaping isn’t good for your health, but if my teenage child was determined to try vaping or smoking a cigarette, I know which I would prefer.