Many governments around the world are still trying to figure out what to do with e-cigarettes — while the growing number of people using the devices are enjoying them and reaping the benefits over tobacco products. Now, New Zealand is the latest country to legalize vaping, as it attempts to stamp out tobacco almost entirely and go smoke-free.
The New Zealand government has decided to legalize e-cigarettes and the e-liquid they contain because they are better for people’s health. It said: “There is evidence that e-cigarettes pose fewer health risks to smokers who switch completely from tobacco smoking to e-cigarette use. Tobacco smoking, even at a reduced level, remains harmful.”
And it said vaping could help people addicted to tobacco smoking to finally kick the habit and become healthier as a result. “There is a good rationale for people to use e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking as e‑cigarettes can provide nicotine, which is what people desire from smoking.”
Vaping Law of the Land
The decision is due to become law sometime in the middle of next year and is a key move in the government’s desire to make the tiny Pacific Island nation of just 4.4 million people smoke-free by 2025. This, it says, is not an attempt to ban smoking everywhere in the country by that date, but rather what it calls an “aspirational goal.”
Many countries, including New Zealand’s neighbor Australia, still don’t allow the use of vaping products, while a lot of others do, such as those in the European Union. New Zealand’s move is clearly based on a growing number of reports by prominent medical bodies that vaping – using such popular products as the NJOY disposable e-cig – is in no way as hazardous to human health as smoking cigarettes.
New Zealand’s associate health minister, Nicky Wagner, said as much. “Scientific evidence on the safety of e-cigarettes is still developing but there’s a general consensus that vaping is much less harmful than smoking,” she said.
So the question is, as almost all countries of the world have, in recent years, banned smoking in public places, indoors and outside, will they be able to use vaping products to get rid of smoking altogether? After all, no-one on the planet is going to argue that inhaling all the dozens of cancer-causing toxins in cigarette smoke is good for you.
Stamping Out Smoking
Let’s return for a moment to the New Zealand government and their plan to make the two-island country smoke free in the next few years. It’s aiming to reduce the rate of smoking and the availability of tobacco “to minimal levels”, in order to meet its goal. It will achieve this, it says, by reducing demand for tobacco and the supply of tobacco products; limiting tobacco promotion and marketing so that children are protected; and providing support for people wishing to stop smoking.
If this all comes about, it will arguably be impossible to claim that absolutely everyone will quit tobacco and either take up vaping instead or stop altogether. Tobacco products will still be available, even in a reduced state, and some people will want to smoke no matter what. But in a small country like New Zealand, where 4,000 people die every year because of smoking, and with the widespread public knowledge that smoking does indeed kill, vaping is fast becoming the clear, healthier alternative.
With New Zealand’s push for vaping over tobacco smoking and desire to become entirely smoke-free in a short amount of time, it is clear where public and official interest lies. That is being as healthy as possible, and if New Zealand achieves its goal, it’s a sure bet other countries will follow suit with smoke-free programs of their own.
Pascal Culverhouse is the founder and managing director of The Electric Tobacconist USA.