Vaping - 'It's attacking & attracting our rangatahi'

By Te Ao - Māori News
Dr Nina Scott and Shane Bradbrook say Māori face another cycle of addiction because of vaping. Watch part 1 of their Te Ao with Moana interview above. 

Two Māori health advocates are arguing that tobacco companies are merely diversifying to protect their profits by promoting vaping and are especially hard marketing to teenagers and Māori communities.

Shane Bradbrook, who is a long-time advocate for Māori reclaiming their natural state as tobacco-free, says tobacco companies are motivated by profit in introducing vaping products to the market and ultimately it's Māori who will pay the price.

“New product, same leopard, same spots, addict our people in our communities and then take care of the shareholder,” says Bradbrook.

Dr Nina Scott, a public health physician and clinical director of Māori Public Health at Waikato DHB, says the tobacco companies have profited from Māori smoking rates.

“They’ve got a lot of profit from us,” says Scott.

She says the tobacco companies are diversifying from cigarettes into vaping to protect their profits. 

“They don’t care about the deaths, they want to keep the profit margins high or if possible higher and they know the smoke-free kaupapa is very slowly, too... slowly, being brought in, so they’re protecting their profit margin and that's all they're about... They’re diversifying.”

Bradbrook says Māori are looking at another cycle of addiction because of these latest actions by tobacco companies and rangatahi are being particularly hard hit.

“What you’re seeing globally in that sort of market is they’ve got what they call a less harmful product, so that’s what they’re pitching," says Bradbrook.

"So you’re effectively getting them buying into the new market, looking at the product, amping up the nicotine levels in their product, lovely flavours, and selling it out there. It’s really attacking and attracting our rangatahi, that’s a major issue.

"Effectively, they’ll come into this market, they’ll swamp the market in whatever way they can and then we’re looking down another cycle of addiction for our people,” he says.

Te Ao with Moana invited multinational tobacco company Philip Morris International to appear on the programme, but they declined. In a statement, the company said:

“We want to reiterate that we’re committed to the government’s smoke-free 2025 goal and are working hard as a company to give up cigarettes and transition to a smoke-free future.”

Read the full statement from Philip Morris here.

WATCH Part 2 of Te Aho with Moana's interview with Dr Nina Scott and Shane Bradbrook below.