Vapes help New Zealand halve its smoking rate

New Zealand has halved its smoking rate in just five years, thanks in part to the support for adult smokers to switch to vaping.

A new report presented by Professor Marewa Glover, a public health academic specialising in smoking cessation, showed that in 2018, New Zealand’s smoking rates were 13.3 per cent and in 2023 it is 6.8 per cent.

Suely Castro, Founder of Quit Like Sweden, said they’ve envisioned a world free from the deadly grip of cigarettes for decades.

“That vision is becoming a reality in Sweden and New Zealand. Harm reduction is proving to be a critical tool in the fight against smoking. Sweden is on the verge of declaring itself ‘smoke-free,’ with less than 5 per cent of its adult population smoking. New Zealand is also making significant strides in this direction. Other countries should take notice and follow suit.”

The report highlights the effectiveness of the ‘Swedish model’, which has achieved significant declines in smoking rates thanks to regulated access to risk-reduced nicotine alternatives.

“It’s time for regulators, policymakers, academics, and experts to look to Sweden and New Zealand and implement similar measures. Traditional cessation and prevention strategies must be complemented by policies that encourage smokers to switch to safer alternatives,” said Castro.

Australia’s struggles are also documented in the report. Unlike New Zealand’s progressive approach to risk-reduced alternatives, Australia introduced a policy in 2021 in which e-cigarettes are only available by prescription.

The report reveals how many Australians struggle to obtain such prescriptions and that roughly 90 per cent of the 1.7 million Australian vapers access vapes illegally on the black market.

 “Sweden has made a smoke-free reality possible. The solutions for the rest of the world to achieve the same are within reach. Without such measures, we will continue to see stagnant smoking statistics and wonder why change isn’t happening,” said Castro.

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