Is the Ministry of Health trying to increase smoking rates?

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, 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 . 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.

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