New Zealand Group Wants Vape ‘Starter Packs’ Like UK

In the UK, the National Health Services (NHS) is trialing a program that will provide some smokers who are admitted to emergency departments free vaping starter kits and instruction on how to use them. This is in combination with ongoing quit-smoking support. Now, a group of vapor advocates in New Zealand wants its country’s Budget 2021 to supercharge already established smoking cessation programs by adopting the UK plan.

“Our Government is now determined to get Smokefree 2025 back on track. Budget Day on 20 May is the first opportunity to put its money where its mouth is. Our District Health Boards and Maori health organizations have had huge success with switching smokers into vapers. It’s time for the Government to back them more,” says Nancy Loucas, co-director of Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA), in a recent statement.

Credit: Gustavo Frazeo

Public Health England has repeatedly endorsed vaping and has never wavered from its scientific conclusion that it’s 95 percent less harmful than smoking. Recently, a new Cochrane review reinforces the effective role vaping plays in reducing smoking rates across the globe. Based in the UK, Cochrane is an independent network, involving 130 countries, health professionals, and researchers. With the strategic goal of putting Cochrane evidence at the heart of health decision-making all over the world, it represents the gold standard for high quality, trusted health information, according to a statement.

Titled “Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation (Review),” the Cochrane Library researchers reviewed 56 international studies, involving 12,804 adults who smoked. The study concluded that e-cigarettes could increase the number of people who stop smoking compared to other forms of nicotine replacement therapy, such as chewing gum and patches.

It comes as a Georgetown University-led study published in the journal Population Health Metrics concludes that nicotine vaping in the US could help prevent 1.8 million premature deaths and see 38.9 million life-years gained in a span of 47 years. “Health officials in the UK believe tens of thousands of Brits stop smoking every year after switching to vaping. In fact, latest PHE estimates show that around 2.7 million adults now vape in England alone, compared to nearly seven million who smoke tobacco,” says Loucas. “What has happened over in the UK over the past decade is an impressive story. It’s one our Government needs to investigate if it is serious about rebooting New Zealand’s 2011 ambition of being smoke-free by 2025.”

The AVCA is encouraging Kiwis to review and submit on the government’s discussion document before 5.00pm on Monday, 31 May 2021.