New Zealand has finally come around to vaping and that too in a strong way. Recently, public health officials made an announcement concerning the contribution of vaping to the anti-smoking goals of the government.
Although known to help with smoking cessation, vaping has tremendously varied rules and regulations associated with it throughout the world.
While it comes as no surprise, given how recent invention of e-cigarettes is, it also means that vapers who travel often have a problematic situation on their hands.
To give you a brief idea of the level of distinction in rules we are talking about, consider this: Vaping is seen as a boon for the reduction of smoking, and the harms associated with it in the UK while in Australia, it is seen as a grave social evil that more often than not, results in severe fines.
The scenario gets even more complicated when ongoing research brings further changes to the fluid laws within a municipality. This is identical to the situation faced by New Zealanders for a significant amount of time as the country supported anti-vaping views just as that of Australia.
But there have been advancements in recent times which have allowed people to see vaping as an efficient and successful alternative to smoking.
The nation as a whole has come a long way indeed, with major public health officials once again taking the stage to praise e-cigarettes as a crucial component for their strategy to become completely “smoke-free” by the year 2025.
Unfortunately, not many countries have seen the light yet, and continue to be bothered by subjective evidence of the influence vaping has on teens. So even though the debate over an objective opinion on vaping continues in several countries, New Zealand has proved that the entire course of the discussion can be changed by taking reliable and independent research into consideration.
Vaporizers once again came to the forefront with strong backing from the government as Jenny Salesa, the Associate Health Minister, made a speech describing new advancements to the Vaping Policy Forum at Parliament.
Recent data shows that the rate of teenage smoking is now at its all-time minimum in the country. Jenny further argued in favor of vaping by putting forth the fact that this is the first time in history that the teenage smoking rate has dipped below 2 percent.
This is indeed a very significant drop from the numbers twenty years ago that showed that 15.2 percent of students smoked on a daily basis. It was also concluded from the research that over 80 percent of students who took part in the survey had never even indulged in a few puffs of smoke.
Another encouraging piece of research found that the rate of vaping among teenagers has also dropped from 0.8% to 0.5% since 2017. This is in direct contradiction with the widely held belief that the vaping culture is growing among teens and hence leading to a greater number of teenage smokers.
While a general drop in vaping and smoking rates were observed in almost all demographics, some groups had considerable gains too. For example, around 6% of New Zealand native Maori girls still smoke.
This makes them over three times more likely to be smoking regularly than the average person. This point emphasizes one of the major reasons the government wants to take advantage of vaping as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes.
Research On E-Cigarettes
Taking into account all the peer-reviewed and independent research that is freely available, it is not difficult to understand how the government has changed its course regarding the matter radically.
To begin with, it has been known since 2015 that e-cigarettes are, if not more, at least 95% more safe as compared to conventional cigarettes.
This report published by Public Health England was the first critical report to find results of this kind, and many more studies have since been conducted that validate these findings.
Another crucial report published not too long ago concludes that there are 93% more toxicants in cigarette smoke as compared to e-liquid vapor.
A report from the Journal of Aerosol Science even claims to have found that the average lifetime risk of cancer is 57,000 times higher for a smoker than a vaper (assuming the same demographic).
Harm reduction is not just the focus either. There has also been a sufficient amount of research to show that e-cigarettes are one of, if not the most, effective tools we have to battle smoking.
A study conducted at the University of Louisville was aimed at gauging the effectiveness of the most common methods of reducing smoking.
After the collected data was carefully analyzed and studied, researchers found that vaping is by far the most effective method of smoking cessation, surpassing even prescription drugs.
Last but not least, there is also a firm basis to the concept that the vaping “epidemic” in teenage populations is being blown out of proportion by the media.
Research conducted by the Action on Smoking and Health involving over 60,000 students showed that only 0.1% to 0.5% of non-smoking teens are turning to vaporizers regularly. This indicates that even fewer would end up taking up smoking as an effect of vaping.
The drastic changes made by the New Zealand government with regards to their policies on vaping should and hopefully will serve as a lesson for the rest of the world.
Do not be discouraged no matter what your government’s stand on vaping is at the moment. New Zealand is glaring proof that these situations can change and for the betterment of the community too. With that being said, it is not going to happen suddenly or miraculously.
We encourage people, now more than ever, to stand by and actively support all the peer-reviewed evidence that is popping up in favor of vaping. It is the best, and quite possibly the most effective way we can spark a change and ensure everyone has access to vaping rights now and in the future.
If we truly want the smoking epidemic to end, we must take inspiration from New Zealand and integrate the smoking cessation benefits vaping brings into our system of public health. If we don’t take a stand now, the situation is only going to get worse with time.