Waikato Herald

Hamilton City Council approves vaping ban

- Tom Rowland

Hamilton City Council has performed a U-turn on its Smokefree policy to now include vaping, following Matamata-Piako District Council which has banned vaping on the Hauraki Rail Trail, as well as on council property.

Twelve months ago Hamilton City Council did not include vaping as part of its smokefree policy with the majority of councillor­s asking for moreinform­ation to be brought back to the new council and for them to make a decision on vaping in public spaces.

This time the council unanimousl­y supported a vaping ban, after hearing that vaping is causing children to smoke.

However, within an hour of the ban being approved by the council committee, a Kiwi vaping business slammed the council’s move.

“For the past 18 months Hamilton has been put up in lights as a progressiv­e and smart city when it cameto protecting its community from the dangers of tobacco all while enabling ex-smokers to publicly use a considerab­ly less harmful alternativ­e without being stigmatise­d,” said owner of Vapo and Alt New Zealand Jonathan Devery.

“Sadly, that progress is now all in the rubbish bin. The Hamilton City Council’s latest amends to its Smokefree Outdoor Areas Policywas supposedly because of ‘new informatio­n’ coming to light. However, it didn’t offer anything substantia­l, let alone new.”

Mr Devery said despite what the Waikato DHB and Cancer Society mayhave presented to councillor­s in June, including the council report’s claim that ‘harm caused from secondhand vaping cannot be ruled out’, Public Health England has categorica­lly concluded ‘to date, there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to the health of bystanders’.

“It seems that Hamilton City councillor­s have also completely overlooked the fact that vaping is the most effective smoking cessation tool in New Zealand’s history, hence why our smoking rates are at record low levels.”

“Hamilton, in its wisdom, isn ow treating deadly smoking and our lead smoking cessation tool exactly the same. It makes no sense whatsoever. I suspect it’s probably because they kind of look the same, but in reality, they’re polar opposite.”

Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy also disagreed with the move, saying it makes no sense.

“Over 10 years of scientific research shows that vaping is at least

95 per cent less harmful than combustibl­e tobacco and has helped millions quit smoking globally. Now, Hamilton’s councillor­s ban the best tool Waikato smokers have to kick their deadly habit for good. It’s unbelievab­ly poor public health policy which will sadly only deliver more smokers,” said co-director of AVCA Nancy Loucas.

She says only weeks ago Parliament passed the Smokefree Environmen­ts and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act which legalises and heavily regulates vaping.

“Banning vaping in Hamilton’s central city streets, council parks and open spaces makes it harder for smokers to switch to vaping, because why would you bother when both are treated just the same.”

Those views were not shared by the Hamilton City councillor­s, who said vaping at schools and health concerns were their main reason for banning the product.

Councillor Ryan Hamilton, who was in support of banning vaping last year, said schools were pleading for more help when it came down to students vaping.

“There is a lot of clear evidence that just the process of vaping can cause irreversib­le lung damage and young people and all age people in the United States and Europe it is now clinically clear that the act of vaping can kill in somepatien­ts,” councillor Ewan Wilson said.

Councillor Mark Bunting said council was trying to achieve the wellbeing of their citizens.

 ??  ?? Owner of Vapo and Alt New Zealand Jonathan Devery.
Owner of Vapo and Alt New Zealand Jonathan Devery.

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