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Report Argues For Common-Sense Vapor Regulation

Report Argues For Common-Sense Vapor Regulation


New Zealand is continuing on its path to sensible vapor policy, recently releasing a new report called Smoke and Vapour. The country has been a vanguard for progressive vapor policy; this report argues that their Smoke Free 2025 initiative can be achieved by deploying vapor products as safer alternatives to smoking. It also argues that the decision to ban vapor use in the public sphere should be to individual businesses.

These actions stand in stark contrast to the way that the United States government approaches vapor regulation. While some government agencies have tepidly admitted that vapor is safer than combustible cigarettes, so far they have still not officially recommended vapor as a safer alternative, offering instead the ‘cold-turkey’ method and other nicotine replacement therapies as the only acceptable solutions for tobacco cessation.

Most vapers know that quitting smoking can be a long, arduous process, and for many vapor has been the only way that they’ve been able to kick smoking for good. Regulating vapor products on the national level runs the risk of limiting vapor products to ex-smokers.

The New Zealand report is one of the most progressive government-sanctioned reports to look at vapor strictly from an angle of harm reduction, and the effects in the country have been noticeable. Vapor has largely replaced smoking in some sectors of the economy, particularly in hospitality.  

"In the hospitality sector we are increasingly seeing more and more of our customers vaping. In fact, it is becoming the new normal compared to smoking," Nadine Mehlhopt, Advocacy and Policy Manager for Hospitality New Zealand, said to Voxy. "We are very supportive of the report, which provides an excellent insight into vaping in New Zealand but also takes a common-sense approach to where vaping can and should occur."

Vapers are currently accommodated under the Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990, which was updated in March and decrees that vapor products should be used only in smoking areas. This  new report argues that vaping shouldn’t necessarily be covered by this law, and that it instead should be up to be up to individual businesses to decide whether vaping should be allowed on their premises.

"Where people vape is something our members have managed very pragmatically since it became mainstream and the general policy is that vaping can take place in designated smoking areas. No-one particularly wants to be vaped on by someone at the neighbouring table while enjoying a meal out and that’s why vaping largely stays in a designated space," reads an excerpt from the report.

Looking at the differences between American and New Zealand’s approach to vapor, the starkest contrast seems to be how the two nations view harm reduction.

In America, it’s still only acceptable (except in the case of a few advocates) to say that quitting cold turkey or using nicotine replacement therapies or prescription drugs are acceptable cessation methods, while vapor products are simply another vice to replace an old vice. In New Zealand, attention to scientific evidence suggesting that vapor is substantially safer has led the government to take a different attitude entirely, which they hope will help the country achieve healthier outcomes. Hopefully, with more reports like this, the link between vapor, harm reduction, and a country’s overall health will become clearer to the world at large.