The HoS reports:
Ordering nicotine-based e-cigarette products off the shelves is “ridiculous”, says a health official and respected anti-smoking campaigner.
Despite being illegal according to the Ministry of Health’s rules, e-cigarettes containing nicotine have been widely available over the counter in Auckland.
But in the past few weeks, the ministry has dispatched smoke-free enforcement officers to inform retailers such sales are prohibited.
The devices, which contain flavoured “e-liquid” with or without nicotine, emit a smoke-like vapour.
One of the major e-cigarette retailers, Shosha, said on Thursday it would get rid of its stock either this week or next week.
Public health specialist Dr Murray Laugesen, who has been researching e-cigarettes since 2007, labelled the ministry’s decision “ridiculous” and said it would drive people back to smoking tobacco. He said e-cigarettes were less harmful than traditional cigarettes, a view shared by the World Health Organisation.
“The ministry itself says half of combustible cigarette smokers will die from smoking so what is being set up is a ridiculous policy which enables people to keep on smoking something which is going to kill them. It’s a crazy policy.”
Tobacco is indisputably lethal. E-cigarettes may have some minor health impacts, but if you can use them to get people off tobacco, then they’re a very good thing.