Our Smokefree Expert Advisory Group’s response to the Ministry of Health consultation document Proposals for the Smoked Tobacco Regulatory Regime, 2023 can be viewed here. The proposals outline how legislation passed in November will be put in place. Health Coalition Aotearoa fully supports the three new strategies which aim to reduce smoking prevalence to under 5% by 2025. These are:
· Reducing the number of smoked tobacco retailers from over 6,000 to fewer than 600
· Reducing the addictiveness of smoked tobacco by lowering the level of nicotine
· Creating a Smokefree Generation.
However, our smokefree experts have serious concerns about the rapid increase in youth vaping since 2018, and the much higher rates of vaping among rangatahi Māori. Our submission asserts that the proposed measures will have minimal impact on exploitation of young people by the tobacco and vaping industry, and that we cannot now bring youth vaping rates down without amending the legislation itself.
We support community feedback from recent consultations by Hāpai te Hauora, to remove disposable vapes from the market altogether, and seriously reduce youth access to other vaping products, including removing them from close proximity to schools and other places children and young people frequent.