Following a 0.6% decrease in smoking rates over the past year, Massey University associate professor of public health Marewa Glover, pointed out that smokeless tobacco products such as electronic cigarettes, could help reverse the current smoking epidemic.

“These new smokeless products that are much less harmful, they are like a flaming torch, you give everyone one of them, stand them at the top of the glacier and we would see it melt much faster,” she said, whilst pointing out that despite media reports to the contrary, smoking rates in New Zealand are decreasing at a slow rate.

“These new smokeless products that are much less harmful, they are like a flaming torch, you give everyone one of them, stand them at the top of the glacier and we would see it melt much faster.” Marewa Glover, Associate Professor of Public Health, Massey University

She went on to refer to the UK, pointing out how on the contrary smoking rates there have dropped dramatically since e-cigarettes have been endorsed as smoking cessation tools. “The difference in the UK is their very different attitude in encouraging people to switch from smoking cigarettes to e-cigarettes,” said Glover.

Millions of smokers’ lives could be saved via vaping

Inline with what Glover said, a recent US study from Georgetown University Medical Center, indicated that up to 6.6 million early deaths could be avoided across the country if smokers had to switch to e-cigarettes.

“The difference in the UK is their very different attitude in encouraging people to switch from smoking cigarettes to e-cigarettes.” Marewa Glover, Associate Professor of Public Health, Massey University

The researchers said that the collective amount of extra years lived by those 6.6 million smokers who could switch to vaping, would add up to an astounding 86.7 million years. “Old policies need to be supplemented with policies that encourage substituting e-cigarettes for the far more deadly cigarettes,” said a co-author of the study.

Smokers should be given an incentive to switch to vaping

Associate Professor Marewa Glover is suggesting an incentive program where smokers wishing to quit are given vouchers for vape shops. This way smokers from lower socio-economic groups are receiving some much needed support, whilst everyone else is still getting a financial incentive. Last March, Associate Health Minister for New Zealand Nicky Wagner, announced that electronic cigarettes would be legalized and made available for sale sometime in 2018.

Read Further: NZ Herald

New Zealand: Smoking is more expensive but nicotine e-liquids are still hard to obtain

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