Wāhine Māori urged to switch from smoking to vaping

By Jessica Tyson

Wāhine Māori, including pregnant women and mothers-to-be, are being encouraged to switch to vaping following the tobacco excise tax increase on New Year’s Day, says Hapai Te Hauora.

The price of tobacco products rose 10 per cent yesterday and it’s hoped the change will motivate more people to quit smoking as part of their new year resolutions.

Māmā of two Mel Morris says switching to vaping has given her the financial and physical freedom that cigarettes denied her.

"After becoming a vaper I became debt free. I put $20 a week away into savings and I’d saved over a hundreds within the first few months.”

She also created a smoking account with her savings from quitting.

“I wrote a Christmas wish list for myself for the end of the year. Before Christmas, I went with my daughter and bought her a Christmas outfit with the savings money from being smoke-free, she says.

“I love it - I feel so proud and the seeing the kids reaction like ‘Wow mum, really? It’s so expensive’ but I can do it now."

Māmā-to-be Hineatua Smith says vaping has made quitting easier.

“Giving up while pregnant is really hard. I don’t think I could have done it so easily without the vape.”

A recent report on tobacco tax issued by the Ministry of Health, found around 45 per cent of Māori women smoke in pregnancy.

Medical practitioner Dr Hayden McRobbie says women should have smoke-free and vape-free pregnancies.

“However, we do know that vaping is likely to be much less harmful to both mothers and babies’ health than smoking is so if vaping is what helps you quit smoking then do that.”

Whānau who are wanting to learn more about vaping or going smoke-free can contact QuitLine and to learn more about the potential risks and relative benefits of vaping click here.