How Aotearoa Vape Community Advocacy Protects Your Safety and Right to Vape


As a voter, you have interests that you want to protect – and as a vaper, your right to vape might actually be one of the primary issues on which you base your vote. If you’re like most people, though, you probably don’t have the time to inform your representatives of your feelings until it’s time to vote – and by then, it’s already too late. That’s one reason why advocacy groups exist; they protect special interests by telling politicians what’s important to the people those groups represent. Aotearoa Vape Community Advocacy (AVCA) is the advocacy group for vapers here in New Zealand, and they don’t just exist to prevent politicians from treading on your rights; they also exist to distribute information to doctors, smokers and researchers with the goal of eventually making New Zealand smoke free.

Vaping isn’t just about giving you a smoke-free alternative to cigarettes; it’s also about reducing the harm associated with combustible tobacco and eliminating the 5,000 preventable deaths that occur due to smoking in New Zealand each year. Our country’s goal of becoming smoke-free by 2025 can only be accomplished if smoke-free alternatives remain available to smokers at affordable prices and without undue regulatory burdens. Here’s how AVCA is working to advance that goal and protect your rights.

Government Lobbying
One of the primary purposes of any advocacy group is to ensure that elected representatives know what’s important to their constituents. Currently, Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa is planning to introduce legislation into Parliament that would severely curtail the ways in which vaping companies can market their products. More important for New Zealand vapers is the fact that the legislation would also ban all e-liquid flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol. However, research data from around the world reveals three very important points about e-liquid flavour bans:

  • Adult vapers need flavoured e-liquid in order to quit and stay off of cigarettes. Surveys have shown that many vapers may return to smoking if they couldn’t get the e-liquid flavours they liked, or alternatively, purchase from the black market.
  • In the event of an e-liquid flavour ban, people will mix their own e-liquids, and a black market will form. The resulting products will be unregulated.

Rather than banning e-liquid flavours, it is far more sensible to give adults the products that keep them away from tobacco and prevent sales to minors than to restrict those products and allow a dangerous black market to form. AVCA has sponsored a petition asking Parliament to hold a debate on this issue. At the time of writing, the petition has more than 15,400 signatures.

Community Fostering and Growth
One of the goals of AVCA is to foster the growth of a vaping community that’s friendly, inclusive and represents itself well. To further that goal, AVCA members must commit to maintaining health and safety as their top priorities when speaking to any interested party about vaping. AVCA Members must also commit to mentoring other vapers and treating them in an inclusive way. AVCA has established a mentorship program in which sponsors help new vapers through the transition from smoking to vaping by explaining how to select the right equipment, how to vape, how to maintain their equipment and how to know when it’s time to upgrade.

It is also the mission of AVCA to educate the public on the benefits of vaping and to provide information that helps existing vapers use their equipment safely. To that end, the AVCA website features an extensive information library about vaping as well as a blog that discusses current events of interest to the vaping community.

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.

Nancy Loucas is a true inspiration to the vaping community, she is personally one of my heroes and one of the most ethical people I have had the privilege of working with. Let’s get behind Nancy, the AVCA as they have our community and show them the support they deserve.

Credit to Nancy and all her team, Jan Walsh, Steve Dohmen, Leon Coertze, Murray Winiata, Hazel Lyn Peters for there amazing work.

follow them on facebook here AVCA Twitter AVCA

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