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Source: Thoracic Society

The Thoracic Society is pleased to see the Labour government’s latest pledge to go further with its e-cigarette policy. 

“Regardless of which party takes office come October – as a lung health promotion charity with members who are leading researchers, physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals across New Zealand and Australia, we want to see our leaders do the right thing and tighten e-cigarette controls,” shares TSANZ CEO, Vincent So.
“It’s the only way to protect future generations of rangatahi from the harms of e-cigarettes”.

A 2023 Aotearoa New Zealand e-cigarette study showed vapers are just as likely to start smoking tobacco cigarettes as smokers who successfully quit by using e-cigarettes. 

“This data highlights that vaping may be a gateway for some young people to start smoking. We cannot see them as a totally harmless way to stop smoking. It is young New Zealanders who are paying the price for this health policy gap,” says TSANZ New Zealand Branch President, Dr James Fingleton.

Labour’s promise to cap vaping stores to 600, clamp down on licencing and store-front advertising requirements for would-be retailers, and increase penalties faced by any adult who sells to a minor are a sensible next step. 

The Society congratulates the Health Minister and her health agencies for the work it has done so far to protect more New Zealanders from a life-time of tobacco addiction and other health complications. “What we would like to see next from the incoming government is a promise to refuse re-licencing of vape stores within 300m of schools and marae, and for the existing nicotine limits for both multi-use and disposables to be reduced to 18-20mg/ml,” explains Dr Fingleton. Ultimately the only people who should be using vapes are those who are using them to stop smoking.

Seeing tobacco cigarette use in New Zealand continue to drop is fantastic, and we applaud policy makers for their role in this health win, but it cannot be at the expense of the silent uptake of e-cigarette addiction. New Zealand’s next government needs to plug the holes in the current health policies to protect New Zealander’s lungs both now and into the future.