Vaping divides opinion in smoke-free trial

Vaping is a smoking cessation tool, but currently banned on the lakefront. | Credit Sarah Johnson

“Queenstown Lakes District Council’s (QLDC) move to ban vaping on the popular beaches of Queenstown, Frankton, Wānaka and Glenorchy is sadly based on snobbery not scientific evidence,” said Jonathan Devery, spokesperson for the Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand. 

He said “including vaping in the ban is misguided and only stigmatises the best smoking cessation tool New Zealand has ever had. The council claims that vaping creates second-hand smoke issues, is smelly and offensive, while the Mayor says it’s all about helping the district become smoke-free. Sadly, by confusing vaping with smoking, they’re only hindering, not helping, national progress on New Zealand’s Smoke Free 2025 ambition”. 

“Vaping is the most effective way for smokers to quit tobacco and international research shows it has no second-hand impact on others, so what’s the problem?” said Devery.

On social media, Wānaka’s response was evenly divided. Trish Fraser said, “Vaping is not smoking, it is 95 percent less harmful than smoking and a great way for smokers to transition off cigarettes —  have some empathy people.”

Penelope Truman agreed, saying, “There is no litter problem with vaping and there is little or no danger from second hand vapour from e-cigarettes. A ban on vaping would be based on aesthetics only...Almost all of them are ex-smokers trying to give up smoking. Why not give them a helping hand, and not make it more difficult for them. They are doing the right thing!”

But those who support the ban were tacit in their opinions: Kathy Voss, “Love the ban”; Linzi Ebbage-Thomas, “Ban both. Permanently”; Huitau Rogerson, “Yes ban both great idea”; Tania Brett, “Yes ban smoking and vaping in public areas”; and Dean Rankin, “There's no difference between smoking and vaping, so if it happens it should be both.”

The online debate between opposing arguments was robust, with attack from both sides. 

Council has not revealed what criteria they will use to judge whether the trial is a success.


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