Sunday, June 20, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalMinister Seeking Broad Views On Smokefree Applauded

Minister Seeking Broad Views On Smokefree Applauded


Official information reveals Associate Health Minister Dr
Ayesha Verrall is doing well to engage with a broad range of
health entities and opinion ahead of the Government
finalising its smokefree action plan, says a leading Tobacco
Harm Reduction advocate.

Nancy Loucas –
a leading Tobacco Harm Reduction advocate keenly awaits the
Government’s final smokefree action
plan

Ministerial diary records show that Dr
Verrall held teleconferences ahead of releasing the
Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan discussion document for
public consultation. Groups included ASH, Hapai te Hauora,
and the NZ College of Physicians.

“These groups are
very supportive of vaping’s key role in smoking cessation.
It’s very encouraging then that Dr Verrall is prepared to
listen to their on the ground experiences before she
finalises her smokefree action plan,” says Nancy Loucas,
co-director of the Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy
(AVCA).

“If we are to achieve the country’s decade
long smokefree ambition then vaping’s role needs to be
elevated in public policy and programmes. Otherwise, we will
never get there. Thankfully, we now have a Minister with
considerable public health experience who understands the
practice of Tobacco Harm Reduction,” she says.

Prior
to Dr Verrall’s appointment late last year, AVCA raised
ongoing concerns over the treatment of vaping under previous
Minister Jenny Salesa. The consumer advocacy group were
disappointed she bowed to undue pressure just when the
country had the chance to lead with truly risk-proportionate
vaping legislation.

“New Zealand has led the world
many times before, but sadly on this occasion anti-vaping
influences got into the head of Ms Salesa. In the end, last
year’s Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products
(Vaping) Amendment Act was a missed opportunity,” she
says.

AVCA has long supported the formalisation of
vaping as an R18 activity and mandatory product safety
standards. However, it believes, measures like limiting vape
flavours to just three in general retail outlets from 11
August will do nothing to help smokefree and everything to
slowdown adults from quitting cigarettes.

As well as
ministerial meetings helping to elevate vaping’s key role
in Smokefree Aotearoa, AVCA is hopeful that Dr Verrall will
keep a close eye on the latest round of Ministry of Health
vaping regulations due for Cabinet sign-off
soon.

“Vaping is a major reason why New Zealand is
now enjoying record low smoking rates, but we have a long
way to go. In the meantime, AVCA feels increasingly
confident that this Minister will deliver a smokefree action
plan that ensures good access to vape products and
programmes for those Kiwis desperate to quit smoking. We
look forward to the final version,” says Nancy
Loucas.

About AVCA

AVCA was formed in 2016 by
vapers across New Zealand wanting their voices heard in
local and central government. All members are former smokers
who promote vaping to help smokers quit – a much less
harmful alternative to combustible tobacco products. AVCA
does not have any affiliation or vested interest in industry
– tobacco, pharmaceutical and/or the local vaping
manufacturing or retail sectors.

www.avca.org.nz

For
a free digital media repository on Tobacco Harm Reduction in
Asia Pacific – including media releases, images and graphics
– please visit https://apthrmedia.org

© Scoop Media

 



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