Youth smoking and vaping growing in e-cig friendly New Zealand

New Zealand, like England, the US FDA, and a few other countries, has embraced e-cigarettes.

Like other e-cig enthusiasts, the Health Ministry minimizes risks to kids. In particular, its “Position statement on vaping” says:

  • There is no international evidence that vaping products are undermining the long-term decline in cigarette smoking among adults and youth, and may in fact be contributing to it
  • Despite some experimentation with vaping products among never smokers, vaping products are attracting very few people who have never smoked into regular vaping, including young people 

The reality is different. The latest data, from ASH New Zealand (graph above), shows that not only is e-cigarette use among youth skyrocketing, but the historical declining trend in cigarette smoking has reversed. This is exactly what one would expect given the consistent evidence that e-cigarettes are attracting low risk youth to nicotine addiction with some of them going on to add cigarettes.

The Ministry did recently announce a 2022 campaign to discourage youth vaping. Unfortunately, as the tobacco companies have known for decades, you can’t tell youth not do do something that is desirable for adults.

And the evidence continues to show that e-cigarettes as consumer products do not help smokers quit.

When will the optimists start making decisions based on actual evidence rather than hopeful theories about e-cigs?

Published by Stanton Glantz

Stanton Glantz is a retired Professor of Medicine who served on the University of California San Francisco faculty for 45 years. He conducts research on tobacco and cannabis control and cardiovascular disease/

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