After years of anti-vaping rhetoric, New Zealand is seeing massive benefits from the newly expanded vaping industry
Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things to do according to many people. It’s understandable given just how many people die every year from preventable diseases caused by continued smoking. But over the last few decades governments around the world have been cracking down on tobacco in a major way. This has resulted in different responses to the newest smoking cessation tool, vaporizers. But as more research is published proving the huge value of e-cigarettes, more countries have been getting behind them.
New Zealand, for example, has had an unusually varied history with vaping. They were initially very strictly against them, but after looking at the data, they’re now advocating their harm reduction and smoking cessation benefits to smokers around the nation. This provides the perfect example of what can happen when evidence guides policy-making, and not just sticking to your political guns. New Zealand is now experiencing an even faster rate of smoking decline than ever before, and many in their government give credit to vaping.
Business Is Booming
Ever since vaping was formally legalized in New Zealand, the industry has been booming. If you ask around, you’ll likely hear stories about how vaping significantly improved their lives or the lives of someone close to them. A recent article on Newshub interviewed several Kiwi vapers about how their lives have changed since switching to vaping. One interview was with Josh McNally, who had previously smoked every day for over 15 years. “Walking up I was no longer breathless, that morning cough that you get, gone, and with the money I’m saving, I’m putting it into going to the gym, getting back in shape and actually getting my health back on track.” This trend has carried over for most sections of New Zealand society, with even the traditionally staunch smoking Maori women now taking steps to improve smoking cessation among their community.
So with all the interest in vaping products, it’s only natural that business would be booming for stores and manufacturers. The same article from Newshub talked with QJ Satchell, who started NZVAPOR after seeing the writing on the wall with legalization. According to Satchell, business has really taken off, so much in fact that he’ll soon be moving into a bigger factory space to accommodate orders. Like virtually everyone in the vaping business, Satchell says they have no desire to sell to anyone except adult smokers. “We don’t want non-smokers to start vaping, we don’t want children to start vaping, we want to make sure that we are approaching the right people and those are current smokers, adult smokers who need to stop,”
Evidence For Vaping
Once you take some time to look at the peer-reviewed evidence we have on vaping, it becomes clear why so many are excited about what it could offer when adequately utilized. We’ve known going back as far as 2015 that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. But this wasn’t a one-off study, in fact as recently as last month different researchers concluded that vapor contains approximately 93% fewer toxicants than cigarettes smoke. If that isn’t a strong enough endorsement, we also have plenty of reason to believe that the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a smoker from a similar background.
Looking further than the harm reduction value, we still have a lot to love about vaping. The often referenced teenage vaping “epidemic” appears to be little more than anecdotal fear mongering. Massive studies of over 60,000 students have concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever vaping on a regular basis. Which means that even fewer are ever even trying a cigarette, let alone ending up full-blown smokers. But potentially the most crucial benefit of vaping is just how successful they have proven to be at helping smokers quit. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville concluded that vaping is more likely to lead to quitting than anything else, including popular new prescription drugs.
New Zealand is offering us all the blueprint on how to handle vaping. After years of cautious policy, they finally were convinced to the value of vaping and adjusted to reflect it. Most countries could take a lesson from this grounded and logical approach to policy-making. Regardless, this represents a massive step forward for the vaping industry abroad. If they can go from being entirely against vaping to fully supporting it than anywhere should be able to follow suit. This new booming vaping industry is only speeding up their goals of becoming a smoke-free country by 2025. So if you find yourself talking to someone who worries that legitimization of vaping will reverse the decline in smoking rates, just point them to the example of New Zealand.
Do you think it’s a big deal that NZ changed their stance on vaping so drastically? What’s the best thing about vaping in your opinion? How should we be working to spread positive information to those around us? 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.
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This content was originally published here.