Drug and alcohol agency suggests vaping is unsuitable for use
The move to ban the sale of tobacco to young people has been welcomed by health advocates in Ashburton, but suggests more work needs to be done.
Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall last week announced Auahi Kore Aotearoa Mahere Rautaki 2025, a response to the government’s offer to make the country smoke-free by 2025.
The plan includes measures that by the end of 2022 will not be able to legally buy tobacco for those under the age of 14 – and the age will increase every year so that younger generations never have legal access to tobacco.
The measures have been described as a world first.
Ashburton Community Alcohol and Drug Service (ACADS) health promoter Andrae Gold said cutting access to the younger generation was important.
“To have gone as far as they did and denied access to a product… I just think it’s amazing,” she said.
But she added that more work needed to be done on broader drug issues.
“I would have liked to see the decriminalization of illegal drugs, so this is something that we continue to work on.
“Certainly during Covid it really shows, the stress and pressure from vulnerable and marginalized people in our community, there is a lot of work to be done.”
She said tobacco was one of the hardest drugs to quit.
“We are working with drug addiction at all levels,” she said.
“While we prefer that people use other services to quit smoking, it is often in the work we do with our people.
“It can actually be one of the hardest to let go.”
Following Minister Verrall’s announcement, Premier Jacinda Ardern described vaping as an effective alternative to help people quit smoking.
However, ACADS was not convinced, based on its local observations, that vaping had been used for its intended purpose.
“It’s a shame that a tool such as vaping, which was made available to help people quit smoking cigarettes, then switch to vaping and gradually work on nicotine withdrawal, has become can. – being more of a trend among younger people, ”Gold said.
She said that wider education from an early age on tobacco and alcohol required even more work.
“I remember when I was 13 reading an article about the effects of cannabis on the brain, which was really helpful to me,” she said.
“I just wish there were strong messages about alcohol and tobacco – I would have made a lot of different decisions when I was a teenager.”
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