In a recent press release, the New Zealand Ministry of Public Health publicly endorses vaping as an effective smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction tool. But the official position statement does not stop there. The agency also supports the rights of vape shop owners to provide free samples of e-liquids to their customers, a stance that is directly contradictory to the FDA deeming regulations of the United States.
Until the deeming regulations were released by the Obama Administration in 2015, free e-liquid sampling was perfectly legal, much to the disappointment of the American vaping community. The New Zealand position statement is very encouraging for smokers considering vaping to help them quit smoking by making the following arguments.
- The best thing that smokers can do to improve their overall health is to quit smoking.
- By promoting vaping by public health officials as a healthier alternative to smoking, New Zealand may be well on its way to achieving its goal of a smoke-free society by 2025.
- Contrary to the official position of the FDA, the New Zealand press release states clearly that there is “no international evidence” to support claims that vaping is a gateway to smoking.
- Vaping is not 100% safe, but it is far less harmful than combustible cigarettes by as much as 95 percent.
- E-cigs should never be endorsed or promoted by public health officials for use by non-smokers.
- Private and public organizations whose mission is to help smokers quit should now encourage and endorse vaping as an effective smoking cessation product rather than instill fear within the general publication about is perceived or misinformed health risks.
- When vaping devices are used properly, the risks of nicotine poisoning are essentially non-existent.
- Smokers should purchase their electronic vaping devices and e-liquids only from “a reputable source like specialist retailers” to ensure the best possible safety standards.
- Vaping may be a viable alternative to more traditional smoking cessation products like “the patch” and nicotine gums and lozenges.
The new position statement issued by the Ministry of public health is viewed as somewhat controversial because vaping in New Zealand is currently illegal to a significant degree. Presently, consumers can only purchase zero-nicotine e-juices and e-cigs, but new legislation is currently being proposed to legalize nicotine-infused products nationwide. The bill must first be approved by Parliament, and this new position statement by the Ministry of Health may clear the path for a quicker and more efficient passage.