You’ll Never Believe How Strongly This Country Is Supporting E-Cigarettes After Years Of Anti-Vaping Rhetoric
New Zealand once again proves it’s come around to vaping, as public health officials announce the role vaping has to play in their smoking cessation goals.
Vaping regulations are enormously varied depending on where you look. It’s no surprise given just how new of an invention e-cigarettes are. The result is a complicated situation for vapers, especially those who travel often. In the UK vaping has long been utilized for its harm reduction and smoking cessation benefits, but in Australia vaping is seen as a serious problem which could result in severe fines. Things are even complex within a given municipality, as new research often brings shifting regulations. This has been precisely the case in New Zealand, who spent many years being as anti-vaping as their close neighbors, Australia. These days they’ve seen the light and now allow vaping as an alternative for all the smokers living there.
They’ve come so far, major public health officials recently once again praised e-cigarettes for being an integral part of their plan to become “smoke-free” by 2025. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the norm for many other places, with many still worried over anecdotal evidence about the impact of vaping on teens. So while the debate over how to handle vaping rages on in places such as the US, New Zealand is proving you can take independent research into account and completely change your course.
Change Of Heart
The renewed backing of vaporizers took place as Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa gave a speech to the Vaping Policy Forum at Parliament detailing new research which indicates the teenage smoking rate is now at its lowest level ever. “This is the first time the rate has fallen below 2 percent. That’s a dramatic drop from the 15.2 percent of students twenty years ago who said they smoked on a daily basis.” The research also concluded that more than 80% of students surveyed hadn’t ever even had a few puffs of a cigarette, let alone smoke regularly.
Also encouraging was the vaping rate among teens also seems to be dropping, with the number of non-smoking teens who vape regularly falling from 0.8% to 0.5% since 2017. This goes against the common belief that vaping is increasing and also leading to more teenage smokers. While dropping smoking and vaping rates were seen across almost all demographics, some had more substantial gains than others. For instance, nearly 6% of Maori girls, natives of New Zealand, still smoke, making them more than three times more likely than the average kiwi. This is a large part of the reason why their government wants to take advantage of vaping and ensure they’re accessible by all the smokers who want or need a safer alternative to cigarettes.
Research On E-Cigarettes
If you take some time to look at the independent and peer-reviewed evidence we have on vaping, it’s not hard to see how they decided to change course so drastically. For starters, we’ve known since 2015 that e-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than smoking thanks to a large scale report by Public Health England. This was the first major report to find results like this, but many researchers have since zeroed in on the same type of range. A report published at the end of last year concluded cigarette smoke has 93% more toxicants than e-liquid vapor, while a report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is 57,000 times higher than a demographically similar vaper.
It’s not just harm reduction either. We also have plenty of research which strongly indicates e-cigarettes are one of, if not the best smoking cessation tool we have at our disposal. Research conducted by a team at the University of Louisville tested all the most common smoking cessation methods and aids to determine which were the most likely to succeed. After analyzing all their data, the team concluded vaping is even more likely to work than popular prescription drugs. Finally, we also have reason to believe the so-called teenage vaping “epidemic” is being quite overblown by the media. A report of over 60,000 students conducted by Action on Smoking and Health concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaporizers regularly. Meaning even fewer must be ending up smokers because of vaping.
The changes New Zealand has made over the last several years in regards to vaping should serve as inspiration for the rest of us. We shouldn’t be discouraged no matter how harsh our government currently is on vaping; New Zealand is proof things can change for the better. That said, it’s not going to happen for no reason. We must work harder now than ever to support all the incredible peer-reviewed evidence we have on vaping. If we truly want to ensure our vaping rights now and into the future, it’s the only thing we can do. If the smoking epidemic is going to end once and for all, we must take a lesson from New Zealand and incorporate these harm reduction and smoking cessation tools into our existent public health programs. If we don’t, it’s only a matter of time before things become much worse.
Do you think what New Zealand is doing could be replicated elsewhere? What’s the most crucial part of vaping for you personally? How can we work together to ensure our vaping rights moving forward? 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.