Is Big Pharma Driving The Anti-Vape Agenda in New Zealand?

International drug companies have been disclosing their gifts and payments to major Kiwi health entities such as the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand (ARFNZ) and the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP), a fact which could explain their harsh anti-vaping agenda. 

“The health of whanau is not for sale in Aotearoa, yet worryingly, perhaps we’ve seen the first evidence that it could be,” said Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates). Her comments come after it was disclosed that two key leaders at ARFNZ and RNZCGP, who are also at the forefront of the anti-vape campaign in New Zealand, are listed as receiving funds from Big Pharma.

“Both of these organisations are vehemently anti-vape and anti-Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR). Is this latest disclosure of Big Pharma funds and gifts a clue or a coincidence?,” she added. Of course due to NRTs such as nicotine patches and nicotine gum, pharmaceutical companies would gladly see the vape market vanish.

Loucas highlighted that infact ARFNZ’s public scaremongering about vaping is well established. “Not one Kiwi has reportedly died from vaping, yet 5,000 die every year from smoking-related illnesses. Despite this, the ARFNZ continues to obsess about the most effective smoking cessation tool we have. Its ongoing anti-vape campaign has not helped one Kiwi to quit tobacco, nor will it help New Zealand achieve Smokefree Aotearoa 2025,” she said.

Supporting Loucas’s arguments, RNZCGP president Bryan Betty, has recently urged NZ authorities to copy Australia in making vapes prescription only. “A lot of the vapes are high in nicotine, which is very addictive. We’re starting to see the emergence of young people who are vaping who are finding it very, very difficult to come off the thing itself.”

Making unscientific claims
Despite the scientific data indicating that switching from smoking to vaping can improve respiratory conditions such as Asthma, Betty claims that vaping can worsen these conditions. “Young women who are on the oral contraceptive we know have a slightly higher risk of deep vein thrombosis or blood clots. What has started to emerge is that vaping could increase that risk by three times,” he added, once again ignoring the relative safety of the products for smokers.