The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) updated their position statement this week, recognising the benefits of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction tool and advocating for smoker access to life-saving vape technology.
The NZMA is New Zealand’s peak medical association, representing all doctors in that county. It engages in public health advocacy campaigns including on the Smokefree New Zealand initiative which aims to decrease smoking rates nation-wide.
The NZMA recognise the “scientific consensus that the exclusive use of nicotine containing e-cigarettes is considerably less harmful than smoking”, and that “it is likely that e-cigarettes will be an effective tool for smokers who want to quit.”
The findings come after multiple long-term scientific studies which have found that e-cigarettes loaded with nicotine are at least 95% safer than tobacco smoking, do not carry material risks for passive smokers and reduce the build-up of carcinogens and tar in the lungs of smokers who transition to vapes from cigarettes.
“We support making nicotine containing e-cigarettes legally and readily available in New Zealand for adults, contingent on an appropriate regulatory regime that ensures due care for unintended harms and risks.”
Regulations like these remain impossible in Australia, where our prohibition on life-saving vaping technology, pushes consumers to an unregulated black market which the government has failed to control – minimising consumer safety and public information, costing the state millions in potential revenue, and ultimately supporting organised crime and other illegal enterprises.
We commend New Zealand for making strides in tobacco harm minimisation and urge Australia’s politicians to act now by legalising innovative vape technology which has been proven to minimise tobacco-related harms and aids in cigarette quitting.
Satyajeet Marar is the Director of Policy at the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance and the Director of MyChoice Australia. He can be followed on Facebook.