New Zealand has decided to loosen their strict vaping laws in a move that vaping advocates say will help NZ reach their smoke-free goals
Different countries have chosen to handle the growth of the vaping industry in different ways. Some, such as the UK have fully embraced them for the harm reduction and smoking cessation value they provide, while many others remain reluctant to trust something so closely related to cigarettes. In fact, Australia and New Zealand shared stringent laws prohibiting the sale and use of nicotine e-liquids for most of the time that vaping has been relevant.
But now the island nation is distancing themselves from their Australian neighbors by deciding to back vaping for its benefits as a part of their latest push against traditional tobacco products. But what does this mean for Australia, whose firm stance on vaping is becoming less viable with the growing selection of positive peer-reviewed studies on the subject?
Vaping In The South Pacific
In spite of the growing consensus on their benefits, Australia has kept their laws the same. That means that if you want to vape nicotine, you need not only a prescription but a specialist chemist who is licensed to store and distribute the liquid. If you opt for the illegal route, you could face hefty fines and even jail time. It’s not due to lack of chances for revision either. As recently as earlier this year, officials have debated but ultimately decided against starting the process of loosening their vaping regulations. This ruling came despite support from the committee chairman, Trent Zimmerman, who said vaping has the potential to save countless lives if adequately supported.
Meanwhile, New Zealand has finally decided that vaping offers more benefits than potential risks. As a result, they’ve chosen to acknowledge the fact that e-cigarettes are dramatically safer than traditional smoking, and start the process of changing their laws to reflect that belief. The first new law makes the sale of vaporizers and nicotine e-liquids legal under the same rules as other consumer goods. The government is hopeful that the added support of vaping technology will help them reach their goal of being an entirely smoke-free nation by the year 2025.
Evidence Supporting Vaping
While politicians continue to debate the efficacy of vaping as a tool, researchers continue to publish studies that make the questions surrounding vaping clearer. One of the most famous and significant studies ever released on the long-term effects of vaping was done by Public Health England, the federal health agency, back in 2015. They concluded after reviewing tons of external data that vaping is at the very least 95% safer than smoking. The researchers were clear in their stance that while not 100% harmless, vaping is the obvious choice if the alternative is continued smoking.
It’s more than just harm reduction value as well. Research has started to show a strong correlation between those who commit to switching to vaping and increased smoking cessation rates. Back last Fall, researchers out of the University of Louisville looked into the likelihood different smoking cessation methods would be successful. After testing most common methods, from cold turkey through prescription drugs, it was determined that vaping was more likely to foster a successful quit attempt than anything else, including the prescription drugs.
With the growth of vaping has come the need for answers to questions that never existed before. It’s no wonder that such a variety of stances has emerged as the response to this brand new industry. The UK has long been the leader for how to properly incorporate vaping into existent smoking cessation and harm reduction programs, while Australia and New Zealand have been viewed as one of the harshest on the new technology among first world nations. That’s why it’s so great to see New Zealand willing to go back on their previous stance in light of the growing evidence.
Not only has vaping been shown to be drastically safer than smoking, but it’s also likely the best smoking cessation tool we currently have at our disposal. While Australia has held firm in their aversion to vaping, the conversion of New Zealand will undoubtedly place even more pressure on Australia to revise their archaic vaping regulations. Moves like this must be supported as positive for public health if we’re ever going to see a world in which vaping is respected as the precious smoking cessation tool that it is.
Do you agree that it’s important New Zealand changed its stance on vaping? Why do you think vaping continues to get lumped in with traditional tobacco products? Do you believe that New Zealand’s change of heart will be a catalyst for similar changes in Australia? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.
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