Cigarette sales plunging

The Herald reports:

Cigarette sales are plunging faster than any time before as smokers turn to alternatives like vaping – with 410 million fewer smokes sold annually than just two years ago.

Dr Murray Laugesen, a trustee of the End Smoking NZ charity, analysed tobacco company returns that are published by the Ministry of Health and found a remarkable drop in sales.

About 2132 million cigarettes were sold last year – 193 million fewer than 2018, and following a 217 million drop the previous year.

The rate of decline from 2017 to 2019 has been about 8 per cent annually – roughly three times the rate across the first six years of the Government’s Smokefree 2025 project, started in 2011.

The trend is driven by factors including cost (a 25-pack of cigarettes was $16.39 in 2011 and is now about $41.89) and alternative products like vaping e-cigarettes

If the rate of decline has been three times greater in the last two years, that is obviously due to the greater prevalance of vaping.

“Although electronic cigarettes and heat not burn products are not perfect – the best thing is to not use any of these products at all – actually, if we were to convert our smoking epidemic into a situation of people using reduced-harm products, that would actually be a much better situation.”

Of course. Perfect is the enemy of good. Better that no one is addicted to nicotine, but if they are then vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking.

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