Today Dr Bryan Betty, Medical Director for The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners spoke to the Health Select Committee on the College’s submission to the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill.
The College strongly supports the introduction of the Bill and its proposed changes to achieve the Smokefree 2025 goal which will contribute to improving health outcomes for New Zealanders.
Dr Betty also spoke specifically about vaping and highlighted that while vaping has a role to play as part of the smoking cessation strategy, the College is concerned about the number of rangitahi taking up vaping who do not, or have never, smoked.
Data shows more young people are taking up vaping and of particular concern is the increase in the number using nicotine-based vapes, which have addictive potential.
“With an increase of 13–18-year-olds taking up nicotine-based vaping, many of whom would never smoke tobacco, there is the potential for them to become lifelong vapers. We have no data or research on the potential long-term effects of vaping and potential for lung damage.
“We may only end up being aware of the long-term potential for harm in twenty to thirty years.
“The College considers that more should be done to protect rangitahi from taking up vaping by tightening regulations and learning more about the potential impact of vaping through robust research,” says Dr Betty.