NZ Ministry of Health announces strongest support yet for e-cigarettes
The New Zealand Ministry of Health issued a strong endorsement this week for e-cigarettes:
'The Ministry of Health believes e-cigarettes have the potential to make a contribution to the Smokefree 2025 goal and could disrupt the significant inequities that are present.
The potential of e-cigarettes to help improve public health depends on the extent to which they can act as a route out of smoking for New Zealand’s 550,000 daily smokers, without providing a route into smoking for children and non-smokers.
Recent decisions taken by Government have increased the focus on harm reduction with an aim to support smokers to switch to significantly less harmful products like e-cigarettes.
The Ministry of Health encourages smokers who want to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking to seek the support of local stop smoking services. Local stop smoking services provide smokers with the best chance of quitting successfully and should support smokers who want to quit with the help of e-cigarettes.
'smokers who have tried other methods of quitting without success could be encouraged to try e-cigarettes to stop smoking'.
Expert opinion is that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco but not completely harmless. A range of toxicants have been found in e-cigarette vapour including some cancer causing agents but, in general, at levels much lower than found in cigarette smoke or at levels that are unlikely to cause harm. Smokers switching to e-cigarettes are highly likely to reduce their health risks and for those around them.
When used as intended, e-cigarettes pose no risk of nicotine poisoning to users, but e-liquids should be in child resistant packaging. E-cigarettes release negligible levels of nicotine and other toxicants into ambient air with no identified health risks to bystanders.
Currently there are no mandatory product safety requirements specifically for e-cigarettes in New Zealand, however generic product safety standards apply.'
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