NEW Zealand has taken an innovative route to encourage smokers to quit smoking through the use of vaping.
The country’s recently launched QuitStrong campaign seeks to tackle the reality that many quit attempts are not successful.
“QuitStrong promotes better ways to quit by linking people to support and tools that can increase their chances of giving up the smokes for good,” says a spokesperson from New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.
The ministry was responding to a query from Focus Malaysia on its strategy in deploying tobacco harm reduction (THR) measures as part of the QuitStrong campaign.
THR refers to safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes like vaping. A number of health authorities around the world are adopting THR as part of their public health agenda.
“The best thing smokers can do for their health is to quit smoking for good,” insisted the spokesperson.
“Vaping products are intended for smokers only, however, it is important to note that evidence on vaping products indicates that they carry much less risk than smoking cigarettes but are not risk-free.”
While there are toxicants in the vapour, these are in general at levels that are much lower than in cigarette smoke and unlikely to cause harm.
As such, smokers switching to vaping products are highly likely to reduce the risks to their health and those around them.
As part of New Zealand’s quest to be a smoke-free country by 2025, the country’s Health Ministry considers vaping products as having the potential to contribute towards that goal – and that there is growing evidence that vaping can help smokers quit.
“In New Zealand, the Health Ministry encourages smokers who want to use vaping products to quit smoking to seek the support of local stop smoking services,” noted the spokesperson.
“Local stop smoking services provide smokers with the best chance of quitting successfully and must support smokers who want to quit with the help of vaping products.”
In Malaysia, the Government has started to impose excise duty on vape products and non-nicotine liquids since January 2021 following the announcement made during the Budget 2021 tabling.
Although seen as a positive move, industry players are calling for a regulatory framework to be introduced and to include vape liquids with nicotine which make up the majority of the Malaysian market.
This will see similar approach taken in other countries including New Zealand and the UK to regulate vape products. If implemented, this could eventually open the doors towards
comprehensive vaping regulations that can enable initiatives such as QuitStrong. – April 15, 2021