We finally have a new government, including our new Minister of Health (David Clark) and two new associate Ministers of Health (Julie Ann Genter & Jenny Salesa). We are pleased to see the choices include those whom have a track record of concern and empathy for the well being of all New Zealanders. It now their time to shine. And ours too.
For far too long, those who had no voice were represented by those who used their plight to further their own vested professional and financial interests, and at times have quite openly, attempted to stifle (and attempt at times discredit) the self representation and determination of vaping consumers of New Zealand.
AVCA, as most know by now, is run by volunteer vapers/former smokers whose whose sole interest is the self determination of their health and those around them by providing scientific evidence, sharing knowledge and providing support to all interested parties that is gleaned from real work experience as former smokers/current vapers. We are an inclusive community, and have run numerous pilot programs countrywide through our VIF program, including a small cohort Mental Health patient VIF group, to assist smokers onto vape. All of these programs have had high success rates (96% for standard VIF pilot, 80% for MH VIF small group). We are proud of this work, and have much more to do.
This is why the board of directors has agreed that the time has come to expand our VIF program to include local Councils, DHBs, PHO’s and community organisations to get the information to them in order to be able to make informed decisions surrounding the use of ELVs, the action of vaping in public and the benefits. This has already begun informally in locations as far afield as Invercargill. There is an entire country that we represent and who have and will benefit from what we know and what we do, as is shown from the consultations with the previous government where we have provided information, evidence and guidance.
We firmly believe in “nothing about us, without us” and it is hoped that the new government will also accept our offer of guidance and knowledge as they draft the legislation surrounding vapings’ place in the toolbox for a SmokeFree 2025.