Expert looks to vaping to get NZ back on track for Smokefree 2025

Source: 1News

While experts say the country is not on track to reach its Smokefree 2025 goal, Chair of the Advisory Board for the centre of Health Law at the University of Ottawa believes it is "entirely possible with intelligent regulation".

A report by Action for Smokefree 2025 states that the country needs a rapid change and Professor David Sweanor is looking to vaping for the answers.

Mr Sweanor told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning if smoking wasn't a thing, he wouldn't be advocating for vaping, but added the alternative is at least 95 per cent less hazardous that smoking.

He said it was important to reduce risks, give people alternatives and truthful information.

"What can we do? Why do we simply allow cigarette companies to sell cigarettes, not give people alternatives, not give them truthful information? And in many countries, including Australia, they deal with this by saying we'll ban the safer alternative, we'll make it hard for people to have an alternative to cigarettes.

"We end up with policy that's actually protecting the cigarette cartel, protecting the profits of cigarette companies rather than protecting public health.

"Here's our leading cause of preventable death, the harm is almost entirely because of the delivery system - people are smoking to get nicotine but they're dying because of inhaling smoke. What can we do here? We can get people off combustion."

Mr Sweanor said in order to do so, there needs to be a relative advantage to lower risk products, including vaping, and believes New Zealand could lead by example for the rest of the world.

"New Zealand is fortunately one of those country's that the world will pay attention to and has a history of doing rational policies, setting precedents on everything from votes for women, to gay marriage, to reducing cigarette smoking."