National MP Nicky Wagner is looking to improve laws around the accessibility of e-cigarettes to provide less harmful alternatives for long-term smokers that will help them kick the habit.
“The Members’ Bill I lodged this week, the Smoke-free Environments (Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes) Amendment Bill, designed to allow electronic cigarettes containing nicotine to be sold to persons over 18 years of age,” Mrs Wagner says.
“Currently the sale and supply of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid as consumer products is illegal. However, the Ministry of Health itself has said that e-cigarettes have the potential to contribute to the Smokefree 2025 goal.
“E-cigarettes offer a better alternative to ordinary cigarettes for long-term, more engrained smokers and are significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco. They also pose no identified health risks to bystanders.
“While our smoking rate continues to decline, we still lose 4500-5000 New Zealanders each year to smoking-related illnesses. We must be open to alternatives that help to wean smokers off cigarettes and have fewer health risks.
“Although the numbers of smokers are decreasing and less young people are taking it up there is a group of long-term smokers, particularly Maori and Pasifika, who find it extremely difficult to quit.
“Vaping and electronic cigarettes are not a cure-all, but they offer an alternative for bridging the gap between a long-term habit and quitting altogether.
“There is no evidence that electronic cigarettes provide a gateway for smokers of tobacco cigarettes or that non-smokers are attracted to electronic cigarettes.
“I encourage all my Parliamentary colleagues to support this Bill through first reading.”