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Ed Sheeran

E-cig subsidy could help Maori quitters

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Maori public health organisation Hapai Te Hauora believes subsidising e-cigarettes is a way to help many Maori break their addiction to tobacco.

Tobacco control advocacy service manager Zoe Hawke says she is seeing many Maori who are interested in vaping but can’t afford the high entry price.

She hopes a Ministry of Health review of e-cigarettes and vaping leads to lifting restrictions on the nicotine-containing liquid, which must be bought from overseas via the internet because it can’t be sold here.

That will still leave smokers with a big up-front cost.

"We just need to support people to get the initial tools, to get the e-cigs and then they will save money, especially when you look at the taxes on tobacco. It is making people think about giving up or if it is too hard for them, they are struggling with that extra cost so why not support our community by giving them a tool that will help them to stop," Ms Hawke says.

Patches and gum are already subsidised, so it’s no great leap to subsidise e-cigarettes as part of cessation programmes.


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