Electronic cigarettes are one step closer to becoming a smoking cessation tool officially recommended by the Ministry for Health in New Zealand. While vaping is still banned in public spaces, electronic cigarettes have been studied extensively and conclusions are clear that they represent a safer alternative to tobacco.
A campaign is scheduled for launch in August encouraging smokers, in particular young Māori women, to switch to vaping. In parallel, a public NZ website will be rolled out to provide information and practical recommendations. The campaign explicitly recommends vaping to quit smoking. The campaign also however has an awareness component to discourage minors from trying out e-cigs. This stance shows the Government’s determination to make e-cigs an official smoking cessation tool.
The best way to wean off nicotine?
Recent research performed by Public Health England, a UK Ministry of Health and Social Services agency, point to the conclusion that vaping is clearly less harmful to health than classic smoking. Currently, however, the public agency wishes to remain cautious as there still lacks sufficient evidence to officially recommend vaping products to quitting smokers.
Despite everything, a NZ government spokesperson stated that vaping remains a comparatively safe and effective tool for tobacco addicts. Māori women in New Zealand are the main target of the campaign, as the smoking rate in this population is 32.5 %, compared to 13.8 % for the rest of the country. While the programme may have a positive impact on tobacco consumption and related risks for the general population, underprivileged communities don’t seem to care much… Whatever the case, e-cig supporters stand firmly in the belief that vaping is healthier than smoking.
When it comes to government support to e-cig manufacturers in the form of funding, none have crossed that line yet. Ben Youden, a spokesperson for Ash, remarked that there is a certain amount of confusion in the public awareness when it comes to vaping, and many believe e-cigs are just as dangerous as smokes. This is hard to understand, given the scientific consensus indicates vaping to be 95 % heathier than lighting up a cigarette.