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Smokefree Day Also Last Day For Feedback On Action Plan


Today marks World Smokefree Day. It’s also the last day
for feedback on the Government’s smokefree action plan,
with supporters urging submissions and bold
action.

“Our mission statement is all about
supporting Smokefree 2025, but if New Zealand’s to ever
get close some brave calls are now needed from the
Government,” says Jonathan Devery – co-owner of the
largest Kiwi-owned vape companies, Alt New Zealand and
VAPO.

Public feedback on the ‘Proposals For A
Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan’ discussion document,
released by Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall,
closes at 5.00pm tonight.

“The Government did pretty
well with its vaping legislation last year. However, it’s
now time to get tougher on Big Tobacco because as it stands
vaping – the 95% less harmful alternative – is more heavily
regulated. That’s not helping smokefree,” he
says.

Both ex-smokers, Mr Devery and fellow business
partner Ben Pryor say vaping is a critical component to
achieving Smokefree Aotearoa, yet it’s barely mentioned in
the Government’s discussion document. They’re calling on
ex-smokers to share their vaping experiences and feedback if
smokefree – defined at five percent smoking or few – is
ever to be achieved.

They believe any smokefree action
plan would be unethical if harm reduced alternatives like
vaping weren’t promoted. It would also ensure smokefree
targets could be achieved without marginalising
minorities.

“We support the Government making
tobacco less available, less appealing, less affordable, and
less addictive. However, for more people to successfully
quit, vaping needs to be elevated as the safer and less
expensive alternative. It was good to see more money in
Budget 2021 for smokefree initiatives, but let’s really
ramp up the support for ‘Vape to QuitStrong’ smoking
cessation programmes,” he says.

New Zealand’s vape
entrepreneurs say Dr Verrall’s determination to reboot the
country’s decade-long smokefree ambition is refreshing.
They believe all of Parliament should get behind her
otherwise 5,000 Kiwis will continue to die each and every
year from smoking-related illnesses. Also critical is
adopting the right regulatory settings for vaping.

Mr
Devery says the Ministry of Health’s current proposed
regulations for vaping products are too restrictive which
only plays into the hands of Big Tobacco. He says it’s
vital that access remains to a variety of products within
the Ministry’s nominated three flavour classes –
menthol, mint, and tobacco – in general retail outlets
from 11 August.

“Adult smokers need good access to
safer alternatives that cater to their needs, with nicotine
levels consistent to those found in traditional tobacco. Any
barriers to transitioning only add to smokers’ difficulty
in successfully making the smokefree
journey.

“Without the right incentives and
programmes, Maori will not be smokefree for another four
decades. That is totally unacceptable, yet Maori health
organisations report considerable success with their ‘Vape
to QuitStrong’ programmes. Let’s crush tobacco sales,
but let’s also back the most effective tool to quit
smoking,” says Jonathan Devery.

He says it’s no
coincidence that World Vape Day is celebrated on 30 May – a
day before World Smokefree Day, also known as World No
Tobacco Day.

“You’ve got to acknowledge vaping’s
role first, otherwise you’ll never get to
smokefree!”

Alt New Zealand and VAPO are encouraging
fellow vapers, vape businesses, ex-smokers and smokefree
supporters to submit their feedback on the Government’s
discussion document by 5.00pm, Monday, 31 May via: https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/proposals-smokefree-aotearoa-2025-action-plan

 

© Scoop Media

 



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