The intention of the site, https://vapingfacts.health.nz/, is to offer key facts about vaping or wairehu, and contextualise it as a tool to quit smoking.
Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa says while vaping products are not harmless to health, they are much less harmful than smoking.
“This website will provide a centralised, credible source of information, with facts and advice on vaping in New Zealand. We know through Google data there is a massive unmet need of search requests for information on vaping. The ‘vapingfacts’ website means people won’t have to resort to unreliable sources like YouTube videos and overseas sites.
“It is designed for adults who smoke and their whānau, as well as people with questions about what vaping is and how it is different from smoking.“There are significant inequalities in smoking rates in New Zealand among Māori and Pacific people. Māori women in particular experience the highest rates of smoking.
“In September we will be rolling out a targeted campaign to help raise awareness of vaping as a way to stop smoking. Māori women are the focus of this campaign due to their high smoking rate: 32.5% compared with the country’s total rate of 13.8%.
Recent University graduate and mum, Arnia Appleby (Ngāti Kahungunu/ Ngāpuhi), successfully quit smoking using wairehu and shared her experience for the site. She says that “vaping gave me the freedom to quit smoking without taking away the socialising as a young person. Giving up smoking can be quite isolating, on top of being scary and a lot of other emotions. Vaping was the transitional tool I needed and I’m now smokefree because of it”.
Hāpai te Hauora CEO, Selah Hart, states that the release of this new resource is both well timed and necessary. She hopes that this could help balance the significant amount of misinformed and unhelpful media coverage that has been recently circulating about wairehu.
“When we talk to whānau, they tell us that they want to learn from wāhine like them that have been there before, they want to feel empowered to make better choices but with information that’s written for them, by people like them. We really hope that this is a resource they choose to turn to when considering using wairehu to quit cigarettes”.
Jonathan Devery, who is a co-founder of VAPO and Alt New Zealand with Ben Pryor, is pleased to see the site go live.
“Vaping is an effective tool to quit smoking and a much more healthier and cost-effective alternative. We’re delighted the Government now agrees by publicly firming up its official position. It’s great news for everyone committed to New Zealand becoming tobacco-free,” says Devery.
“In recent years the Ministry of Health has been somewhat agnostic on vaping, claiming it didn’t have enough evidence to recommend vaping products confidently as a smoking-cessation tool. However compelling international evidence has brought them around, with this launch marking a significant step in New Zealand reaching its Smoke Free 2025 ambition.
“In launching the site yesterday, Salesa addressed concerns that vaping might be a ‘gateway’ to smoking for young people, however she said there was “no clear evidence for this”.
“Smoking among young people is continuing to decline and most young people who vape are smokers or ex-smokers.“This Government will put appropriate legislation in place to improve the regulation of vaping and smokeless tobacco products. I am looking forward to bringing draft legislation to the House later this year.”
The Vaping Facts website was developed by the Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Agency with input from a New Zealand expert advisory group. This consensus statement has been agreed:
- The best thing you can do for your health is to be smokefree and vape free.
- Vaping is not for children or young people.
- Vaping can help some people quit smoking.
- Vaping is not harmless but is much less harmful than smoking.
- Vaping is not for non-smokers.