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New Zealand

Third of NZ students have tried vaping, despite most being non-smokers

http://www.voxy.co.nz/health/5/361613

New research shows that more than a third of New Zealand high school students have tried vaping even though nearly two-thirds of those doing so have never smoked cigarettes.

Vapes, or electronic cigarettes, are not recommended for non-smokers, as the long-term effects are not known, and vapes containing nicotine are likely to be addictive.

“Vaping is not as harmful as smoking, but it is not harmless. Taking up vaping is not a good idea for people who are not otherwise smokers, particularly young people,” says study co-author Dr Terry Fleming from Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Health.

The study is the first in New Zealand to look at vaping in high school students of all ages. It found 65 percent of teenagers who had tried vaping reported they had never smoked cigarettes, as well as 48 percent of those who said they vaped regularly. Overall, 38 percent of teenagers reported they had tried vaping, 10 percent said they vaped regularly, and 6 percent vaped weekly or more often.

The research also shows vaping is relatively common for students in all school deciles, whereas smoking is now rare in higher decile schools.

“Vaping seems to appeal to a wider range of young people than smoking and unlike smoking it is more common in boys than girls,” says Dr Fleming.

Recently published data from another New Zealand study shows the long-term decline in smoking among Year 10 students that began in 2000 stalled from about 2015 and may even be reversing, particularly in MÄori and low decile schools.

“When you put these findings together, it calls into question the idea that vaping is displacing smoking. The alternative possibility, that vaping is fuelling smoking, must be taken seriously by communities and policymakers,” says study co-author Associate Professor Terryann Clark from the University of Auckland.

Researchers say measures to protect youth, particularly MÄori and disadvantaged youth, from both vaping and smoking harm are needed, such as limits on where vapes and tobacco can be sold and a ban on vaping advertising and sponsorship, including online and social media promotion.

The research is timely, as the Government is currently consulting on new vaping regulations announced earlier in the month.

“New Zealand has fewer restrictions on promoting vaping and on vape flavours than many other countries. Supporting smokers to step down to vaping and non-smokers to stay that way are both important-this is possible with good policy and leadership,” says Dr Fleming.

The research is part of the Youth19 survey, which aims to collect data on a range of issues affecting New Zealand youth. Further results from the survey will be available over the coming year. This survey is a collaboration between Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Auckland, the University of Otago, and AUT.

Big Tobacco poised to enter the vaping market in New Zealand

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$1.7b in and $43m out: the Government’s ‘double standard’ on tobacco

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Tobacco packaging plain from today

https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/tobacco-packaging-plain-today

From today, cigarettes and other tobacco products can only be sold in generic plain brown and green packaging – brand and product names are now in a standard colour, position, font size and style.

In addition, a new set of 14 health warnings and images have been rolled out, enlarged to cover at least 75% of the front of the packet.

”It’s a long-overdue move which has been discussed for over 30 years,” Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) programme manager Boyd Broughton said.

”It’s not the be-all and end-all – a lot of other strategies have to be put in place in order to get to smoke-free 2025 – but we can achieve that goal.”

Old-style packets of cigarettes will still be seen for a few weeks yet: retailers have a six-week grace period for old stock to be distributed and a further six weeks for that stock to be sold.

From June 6, tobacco can be sold only in the new standardised packets.

Mr Broughton said the change came at the halfway point of the timeframe for a smoke-free New Zealand – smoking rates of less than 5% – to be achieved.

”Plain packaging is one part of a whole suite of strategies recommended to stop young people being addicted to cigarettes,” Mr Broughton said.

”We now need to look at how we can make alternatives to cigarettes far more accessible.”

Smoking rates in the Southern District Health Board region range from 18% of adults in the Invercargill electorate area to 11% in Dunedin North.

Maori are New Zealand’s biggest users of tobacco and that is reflected in Te Tai Tonga – the Maori electorate which takes in the South Island – having the highest number of smokers.

Latest Ministry of Health figures show 15.7% of adult New Zealanders smoke – as do 40% of Maori women.

Ash estimates at the current rate of decline it will take until 2030 for smoking rates to fall below 5%, and for Maori, it will take until 2050.

”It is urgent that action be taken now if we are going to reach smoke-free by 2025,” Mr Broughton said.

”It’s a bit of a sprint finish, and we need the Government to get in behind and ramp up support for people who need support to quit.”

Southern DHB health adviser Joanne Lee said plain packaging aimed to reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products, increase the noticeability and effectiveness of health warnings, and reduce the ability of retail packaging to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking.

”Tobacco products are unlike any other consumer products. They kill two out of three people who smoke and more than 5000 New Zealanders die of smoking-related illnesses each year,” she said.

”Having all packaging the same will hopefully see a decrease in youth smoking.”

Otago researchers have welcomed standardised packaging for cigarettes as a good move, but say more needs to be done in the fight against tobacco.

The co-director of ASPIRE2025, Prof Janet Hoek from the University of Otago, said today the plain packaging policy represented a major step forward in protecting young people from smoking initiation.

However, she called on the Government to ensure standardised packs maintain their impact on smokers.

“On-pack warnings are very important because they allow us to reach all smokers, but we must recognise that people who have smoked for 30 years differ from young people who are experimenting or who regard themselves as social smokers.”

The warnings needed to resonate with diverse groups of smokers, and be refreshed regularly so smokers are exposed to multiple reasons for quitting, researchers said.

“We are only seven years from the Smokefree 2025 goal so we need to make sure that the policies introduced achieve maximum impact over a sustained period,” Professor Hoek said.

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

Smoking rates

Rates by electorate (rank out of 72; electorate; number of regular smokers; percentage of adults who are regular smokers, based on 2013 Census data).

1 – Te Tai Tonga; 22074; 26%
17 – Invercargill; 9261; 18%
34 – Clutha-Southland; 7944; 15%
43 – Waitaki; 7005; 13%
44 – Dunedin South; 6816; 14%
56 – Dunedin North; 5796; 11%

Timeline of tobacco advertising in NZ

1948 – First campaign by the Department of Health on the harms of smoking.
1963 – Cigarette advertising banned in television and radio in New Zealand.
1973 – Cigarette advertising on billboards and cinema screens banned.
1974 – Health warnings appear on cigarettes.
1990 – Smokefree Environments Act bans tobacco sponsorship of sporting events; Sponsorship Council established to replace tobacco sponsorship with Smokefree branding.
1995 – Tobacco sponsorship ends; Tobacco branding on shop exteriors banned.
1997 – Size of tobacco advertising in stores in reduced, and retailer incentives to sell cigarettes are banned.
2004 – All workplaces, schools and early childhood centres required to go smokefree.
2008 – All cigarettes and tobacco pack are required to have graphic health warnings covering 90% of the pack.
2012 – All point of sale advertising of tobacco is banned, and cigarettes and tobacco product must not be on display.
2018 – All cigarettes and tobacco must be sold in plain packaging

SOURCE: Action on Smoking and Health.

Plain cigarette packaging has arrived in New Zealand

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1803/S00201/plain-cigarette-packaging-has-arrived-in-new-zealand.htm

From today New Zealand legislation prevents the tobacco industry from using branding on their cigarette packaging. This marks the first day of a 12 week ‘wash out’ period in cleansing the market of existing stock and introducing plain packaging. These changes will mean tobacco packets will be the same standard dark brown/green colour as seen in Australia and the U.K; graphic pictures and health warnings will be enlarged to cover at least 75% of the front of tobacco packs, and all tobacco company marketing imagery will be removed.

Hāpai Te Hauora CEO, Lance Norman, offers his support for this legislation and extends on it by addressing the wider challenge of supply reduction. “We congratulate those in government who spearheaded this move, especially the Māori Affairs Select Committee and Dame Tariana Turia. We also believe that the benefits of plain packaging could be maximised by implementing this in tandem with other efforts to reduce its access, appeal and affordability”.

Tobacco researcher, Justinn Cochran, discussed her recent study at Auckland University which focused on the graphic health warnings of tobacco packaging: “We found that exposing smokers to negative health warnings, particularly those that are more disgusting can reduce how much attention they pay to tobacco packaging, which often serves as a reminder to smoke. These findings suggest that these legislative changes could be helpful in reducing the appeal of smoking and perhaps contribute towards changing attitudes around smoking.”

It is estimated that the introduction of plain packaging in Australia in 2011 accelerated the decline of smoking prevalence and led to approximately 100, 000 less smokers in the 36 months following. Norman expressed his enthusiasm about what this mean for improved Māori health, but recognises now is a key opportunity to gain momentum in supply reduction which will make a significant impact on New Zealand becoming smoke-free: “We support this move from the government to reduce the appeal of cigarettes, and we must capitalise on it by increasing the focus on supply reduction”.

“It is unreasonable to expect standardised packaging will be a silver bullet although it may be one more nail in the coffin”.

Auckland smoking ban at footpath dining areas deemed ‘unfair targeting’

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Advancing the endgame for the tobacco pandemic

Advancing the endgame for the tobacco pandemic: Hāpai Te Hauora backs new research to achieve Smokefree 2025.

https://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/un-doctored/2017/june-2017/29/Advancing-the-endgame-for-the-tobacco-pandemic.aspx

Hāpai Te Hauora supports new research on tobacco control published by the University of Otago in the British Medical Journal this month. “This is significant for the tobacco control sector” says Zoe Hawke, General Manager of the National Tobacco Control Advocacy Service for Hāpai Te Hauora.

“We have new strategies to advance Smokefree 2025 in Aotearoa and now we have an evidence base to support these strategies. Novel interventions can be difficult to advocate for without a track record to link outcomes to. The evidence presented in this study will go a long way to mitigating those difficulties. It also sends a clear message to decision-makers about the critical crossroads we’re at, and what we need to do if we’re serious about achieving Smokefree 2025.”

The study, titled “Impact of five tobacco endgame strategies on future smoking prevalence, population health and health system costs: two modelling studies to inform the tobacco endgame” was a trans-Tasman collaboration between the University of Otago and the University of Melbourne. It was specifically focussed on the New Zealand Smokefree 2025 goal and identified major health gains and cost savings could be achieved by utilising:

1. 10% annual tobacco tax increases

2. a tobacco- free generation: a ban on the provision of tobacco to those born from a set year onwards

3. a substantial outlet reduction strategy

4. a sinking lid on tobacco supply

5. a combination of 1,2 & 3

These strategies are new and the study modelled their potential impacts using New Zealand-specific data to achieve their findings. The authors propose that the data are used as modelling-level evidence for countries looking to achieve health gains, cost savings and reduce inequities related to tobacco consumption. They suggest that the findings will be validated and improved upon as the interventions are adopted.

Hawke says supply reduction is the key to achieving Smokefree 2025, but it won’t be easy. “If we think we’ve seen battles with the tobacco lobby, we’ve seen nothing yet. Reducing supply is the final hurdle to removing this harmful product from our communities and you can guarantee it will be fiercely fought by the industry.”

Philip Morris ‘tobacco sticks’ court prosecution postponed

The heat has come on tobacco company Philip Morris for importing and selling “tobacco sticks”.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/93268568/Philip-Morris-tobacco-sticks-court-prosecution-postponed

The company is facing two charges brought by the Ministry of Health over the sticks, called Heets.

The charges were to be called in the Wellington District Court on Friday but at the last minute they were adjourned by agreement until September 7.

That date was for a case review hearing, an indication that the company would plead not guilty although it appeared no pleas were entered.

The ministry said it considered Heets fell into a category of tobacco products for oral use, other than smoking, and so were banned under the Smoke-Free Environments Act.

Heets were described as tobacco sticks heated in an electronic device, rather than being burned like a normal cigarette.

Through a code-protected invitation-only website, the company was marketing its IQOS smokeless electronic devices, which heated the sticks to release the nicotine.

In March the company said it was confident the way it was doing business was legal.

General manager for Philip Morris New Zealand, Jason Erickson, said they complied with all sections of the Smoke-Free Environments Act.

“We are currently making our IQOS device and Heets available to registered adult smokers on a website. If requested, we will provide a demonstration on how to use the IQOS device, which as the Ministry of Health has acknowledged, is a consumer electronics product.”

The two charges the company faced had a maximum $10,000 penalty.

Tobacco poison needs to go from shelves

Former associate health minister Dame Tariana Turia is disappointed she was not able to get the government to remove tobacco from sale in New Zealand.

http://www.waateanews.com/waateanews/x_story_id/MTY0NTU=

It’s World Smokefree Day, and the Cancer Society and Maori public health organisation Hapai Te Hauora have launched the Dame Tariana Turia Award for tobacco control, which will go to someone working in tobacco control who has made an impact on indigenous smoking levels.

Dame Tariana says she is proud of what she was able to do as minister with the support of many others, but the New Zealand government still needs to say tobacco is a poisonous substance that should not be part of trade.

It showed it was able to act by stopping the sale of party pills and synthetic cannabis.

“They took the other off the shelves because of the incidents that were occurring through people taking them, yet for some reason tobacco has never been considered to be an unsafe substance,” she says.

Dame Tariana says dairy owners who want government protection against cigarette robberies should instead consider not selling them, following the lead of a Maori-owned dairy in Whanganui.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Defence Force is taking steps to be the world’s first smokefree military by 2020, including banning the sale of cigarettes on camps and bases and making NZDF housing smokefree.

Still No Tobacco Standardised Packaging Regulations

Imperial Tobacco New Zealand wants to know why the Government still hasn’t released Regulations to implement standardised packaging of tobacco.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1705/S00500/still-no-tobacco-standardised-packaging-regulations.htm

Parliament passed the Bill for tobacco products for standardised packaging in September 2016, but Regulations that set out exactly how and when the measure will be implemented still haven’t been released.

Head of Corporate and Legal Affairs for Imperial Tobacco New Zealand, Louise Evans McDonald, says Imperial and tobacco retailers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the delay.

“While we have made our objection to standardised packaging known, we will obviously need to comply with the new law. That is going to be extremely difficult to do if the Government won’t tell us exactly what the new law is.

“Retailers have joined us in calling for at least 12 months lead time until implementation – but that has clearly fallen on deaf ears. The legislation says that we must have standardised packaging in March next year, which is now less than 10 months away.

“We need to see the Regulations immediately so that we can source and prepare packaging materials ready to meet the deadline. If we don’t know what those materials must contain because we don’t have Regulations, then exactly what is the Government going to expect of us and, importantly, of retailers?”

ENDS

Timeline of key dates:

31 May 2016 – Exposure draft of regulations for consultation
30 June 2016 – Bill’s second reading
8 September 2016 – Bill’s third reading
14 September 2016 – Bill received Royal assent