The recent increase to cigarettes provides another incentive for smokers to quit but the Government must now ensure that smoking cessation tools are appropriately regulated and able to be used to encourage smokers to quit, National MP Nicky Wagner says.
“Excise taxes have gone up by 10 per cent plus the CPI this month. These year-on-year increases have achieved their purpose in reducing smoking rates and now we must help our most ingrained smokers who are not put off by price by providing an alternative like vaping.
“The Ministry of Health has highlighted the potential for vaping to be used as a smoking cessation tool to help achieve Smokefree 2025, and yet the Government will not move to make e-cigarettes and vaping devices more accessible.
“Currently, vaping liquid and devices are treated the same as tobacco products. However, evidence suggests they are around 90 per cent less harmful. My Member’s Bill would create specific regulations for e-cigarettes to ensure they can be employed as a smoking cessation tool and to provide appropriate regulations.
“These regulations would prohibit sales to under 18s, allow the ability to encourage vaping on tobacco products, ensure there are appropriate rules around advertising, set quality standards, require the Ministry of Health to approve products and prohibit vaping in smokefree areas.
“The proposed legislation that will be introduced this year by Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa, will be very similar to mine. The Associate Minister should save time and adopt my Bill.
“There are technical differences and issues that are still up for debate which could be worked through in the select committee and wider Parliamentary process.
“If the Minister wants to help encourage smokers to quit sooner she should adopt my Member’s Bill when we return in February. Parliament can then build on this and develop the final legislation through its process.
“This is the time of year when people make choices to better their lives, and we need to give smokers the ability and the options to make those choices when it comes to quitting. The Government must respond to the call for alternatives like vaping.”