(But not for smoker’s rights groups!)
New Zealand appears to be edging closer to legalising electronic cigarettes.
“We are not there yet, but I am fairly optimistic that Ministry of Health will soon agree these things can be sold as tobacco products. Only the USA and NZ appear to have tobacco product definitions in law that permit this,” Dr Murray Laugesen of Health New Zealand told us.
His statement is accompanied by two positive news stories.
The New Zealand Herald reports the story of one e-cigarette user, who imports the devices for his personal use from China:
‘Heavily addicted to nicotine, he considers the device an alternative to smoking tobacco – one which has greatly reduced the harm of his habit.
‘”Within three or four days of using it I noticed a huge improvement in my overall health. I woke up in the morning and I could breathe. It’s absolutely fantastic.”
‘His smoker’s cough is gone and, although he has not done the sums, he expects he is saving a lot of money.’
Meanwhile an article on Newswire, called “Health Campaigner: E-Ciggies a Step Forward“, suggests a vision of a country where electronic cigarettes completely replace traditional cigarettes.
Murray knows that the anti-smoking groups are calling for a complete prohibition of cigarettes. He’s arguing that this is going to be impossible unless there is an acceptable alternative. And that acceptable alternative, according to Dr Laugeson, is electronic cigarettes.
Which is perhaps why ASH (Action on Smoking and Health New Zealand), unlike ASH America, support the legalisation of the electronic cigarette.
(On a side note, I’d like to say that from a libertarian point of view we do not support a ban on cigarettes. People should have the right to make their own choices about how they live the life. We believe in educating people about the truth about cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, and then allowing them to make their own minds up.)