E-cigarettes discussion on Radio NZ

An interesting interview on Radio NZ with public health expert Chris Bullen. Some extracts:

We have a goal as a country to be Smokefree by 2025, we have about half a million people still smoking, the majority of those people would like to quit smoking or will do as the health effects kick in and we need to offer a wide range of products for those people and to shut the door to those people who have quit or cut down significantly using products like e-cigarettes just seems to me to run counter to what we are trying to achieve. …

if we are trying to get more people off of smoking tobacco, which is an incredibly harmful thing to do, we need to try and get some sensible regulatory sweetspot here about what to do, maximizing some of the public health benefits and individual benefits and minimizing harm to individuals and one of the ways to do this is controlling what people are accessing. One way of doing that is a smarter regulatory approach. …

e-cigarettes I think are much more like a consumer product and probably should be regulated under some sort of consumer regulation around basic quality criteria. Probably no more harmful than a coffee habit so we just have to try to get some proportionate regulatory response.

Professor Bullen has both a medical degree and a PhD in Community Medicine. He is a co-director of the Tobacco Control Research Turanga.

When someone like Professor Bullen is saying that the Government has the wrong approach with e-cigarettes, and a proportionate regulatory approach is needed, the Government should listen.

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