With vape use rising and cigarette sales declining in New Zealand, End Smoking NZ (ESNZ), a charity founded by Dr Murray Laugesen in 2006 to support innovative approaches to tobacco control, is highlighting data from 2018 in which the Health Promotion Agency found that 23 per cent of New Zealanders who recently attempted to quit smoking had used an e-cigarette in the previous couple of weeks.
ESNZ wrote in an article published on its website that the widespread availability of e-cigs "may help smokers quit sooner" while pushing for e-cigarettes to be carefully considered as the New Zealand Government continues pressing forward with its long-term goal of reducing smoking prevalence and tobacco availability to minimal levels by 2025.
As a result of the Smokefree Environments Act, which was passed over 30 years ago, cigarette manufacturers are required to report the number of cigarettes sold in NZ. Examining the data, it is clear that cigarette sales have declined dramatically in more recent years as vaping has quickly risen in popularity across New Zealand.
Cigarette sales in New Zealand fell an average of 3.5 per cent annually from 2011 to 2017. However, they dropped at a rate nearly three times that from 2017 to 2019, falling 9.5 per cent annually as vaping's popularity continually rose.
According to ESNZ chair Dr George Laking, the two primary reasons for the acceleration in tobacco sales declining in recent years could be the appeal of tobacco and the availability of alternative products, such as e-cigarettes.
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