Malaysia should emulate NZ’s strategy of using vape for smoking cessation

EFFORTS by the New Zealand Government to position vape as an alternative product to substitute traditional cigarettes in its quit smoking agenda should be emulated by developing countries around the world.

In March, New Zealand introduced the ‘Vape to QuitStrong’ campaign aimed at reducing the harm caused by tobacco in line with the country’s Health Ministry’s Smokefree 2025 goal.

Rizani Zakaria

“New Zealand has succeeded in creating an ecosystem involving various parties including consumers, industry players, the Government and the country’s health agency,” commented the Malaysian Vape Industry Advocacy (MVIA) president Rizani Zakaria.

“From their collaborative efforts, New Zealand is expected to succeed in achieving its goal of becoming a smoke-free nation.”

In a presentation at the recent virtual US ECig Summit, it was shared that the approach taken by the New Zealand Government to involve various parties played an important role in developing vape regulations to help the country achieve its smoke-free goals in line with the national Smokefree 2025 framework.

In fact, the country’s Health Ministry has also recognised vape as a tool for smoking cessation since 2017.

“The regulations implemented by New Zealand for the vape industry boasts a ‘win-win’ framework and has been proven to be effective,” Rizani pointed out. “All parties have a role to play in realising the goal of reducing smoking incidences in the country. If this model is applied in Malaysia, I am confident we can be like New Zealand.”

Activist Ben Youdan recently presented a statement by New Zealand’s Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall which stated that the addition of vape products in the marketplace has provided decision-makers with an opportunity to adjust the regulatory setting in the country’s Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 towards a more risk-proportionate framework.

Youdan is an activist who has also played a key role in Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) in tobacco control.

This framework would make smoked tobacco much less accessible and less desirable than vaping products and smokeless tobacco.

The recently held virtual US ECig Summit 2021 brought together industry experts as well as activists to discuss the future of vape along with other vape-related topics.

During the summit, Youdan also elaborated on the efforts undertaken by New Zealand in achieving its goal of a smoke-free nation by implementing Tobacco Harm Reduction strategies.

“The Malaysian Government should emulate New Zealand and we as industry players would be pleased if the government give us the opportunity to participate in discussions related to the regulation of the vape industry. We are ready to give our thoughts and views on the industry,” added Rizani.

MVIA is a non-profit advocacy group that supports Malaysian vape entrepreneurs and businesses. It aims to represent the Malaysian vape industry and provide a voice for the industry with government bodies, regulators, enforcement agencies and other interested parties. – July 21, 2021

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