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Press Release – Vaping advocacy congratulates Dr Verrall on Associate Health Portfolio – Tobacco Control

Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA)

Friday, 6 November 2020

Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA) congratulates Dr Ayesha Verrall on becoming Associate Health Minster with her responsibilities including tobacco control and vaping.

“Dr Verrall is a public health expert and so having her around the cabinet table, after only being elected as an MP last month, is positive for New Zealand at this time,” says AVCA co-director, Nancy Loucas.

She says for those Kiwis who work in and around Tobacco Harm Reduction, Dr Verrall’s appointment is also welcomed news.

The new Associate Health Minister has already voiced her support for Smokefree 2025, noting the ambitious goal will require a lot of focus to achieve it. However, she believes it’s critical given New Zealand’s 5,000 preventable deaths every year due to tobacco.

“Dr Verrall has noted there are well-established measures to get us to smokefree, but the challenge and work ahead will be building a consensus around them. AVCA is encouraged that the new minister has already identified Smokefree 2025 as a focus, and we are committed to working constructively with her, new Health Minister Andrew Little, and the ministry to those ends,” says Ms Loucas.

In August, Parliament passed the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill.

At the time former Associate Minister of Health, Jenny Salesa, promised ‘to publicly consult on the regulations that will give effect to this bill. This will take place after the election and will provide businesses, members of the public, NGOs, and other stakeholders the opportunity to influence how it will be implemented.’ 

“With 200,000 vapers in New Zealand, and as an independent consumer advocacy group, we remain willing and able to share our perspectives to ensure the pending regulations are both workable and effective,” says Ms Loucas.

AVCA’s Parliamentary petition on vaping, which over 17,000 Kiwis signed, was formally accepted by Parliament and referred to the Health Select Committee on 18 August. AVCA awaits the new committee’s response to it

Nancy Loucas

Nancy Loucas

Nancy comes from a diverse administrative background that includes surgical research administration, teaching (primary and tertiary level), executive administration and community property management. For over 15 years she has been very active in community advocacy with youth, lower income folk needing advocacy and now, vaping advocacy. She brings a wealth of scientific, medical and research administrative/management knowledge with her to her role as CEO/Director at AVCA.

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