In 2011 the New Zealand government set an ambitious goal to be smokefree by 2025. This means adult daily smoking is less than 5% prevalence and almost no new smokers start. To achieve this goal, this paper advocates a surge strategy based on driving down smoking by facilitating smokers to switch to smokefree alternatives such as vaping products, heated tobacco and smokeless tobacco products. These smokefree alternatives present much lower health risks compared to cigarettes and with the right tax structure can ease financial pressures on smoking households, mitigating both health and economic inequities.
- Differentiate between smoked and smokefree products.
- Avoid excessive measures in primary legislation and embrace New Zealand’s established principles of good regulatory practice.
- Start with simple product standards with scope for routine updates.
- Set powers to control ingredients, flavours and product descriptors, but use these with caution and based on evidence of harm, and with an understanding of their role for adults shifting from smoking.
- Control rather than prohibit advertising of low-risk products.
- Provide objective and truthful government approved information on risk relative to smoking.
- Take a nuanced approach to youth use of smokefree products.
- Allow premises to determine their own policy on the use of non-combustible products.