'Switching to vaping will save lives' - Maori women calling for e-cigarettes legalisation

The most stubborn smokers in the country, Maori women, are calling for easier access to e-cigarettes to help them quit their habit.

Sophie Strickland has been off the ciggies for four months after being a smoker for 22 years. 

She has joined a support group where women use e-cigarettes which legally can't be sold in New Zealand.

The devices vaporise a nicotine solution that's inhaled.

The mother-of-eight says it's a relief to be rid of tobacco.

"It's the last thing you think about before you go to sleep and it's the first thing you think about before you get up," Ms Strickland said.

She's backing calls from public health experts like Massey University's Dr Marewa Glover to fully legalise e-cigarettes.

"If we can get people switching to vaping we can start saving Maori lives and reduce disease among Maori," Dr Glover said.

Even after years of quit smoking campaigns and increasing taxes, more than 40 per cent of Maori women smoke.

Associate Health minister Peseta Sam Lotu-liga told ONE News ministry advice on the issue is due on his desk in the next month. 

Selling the devices and nicotine liquid is a criminal act - Maori Affairs reporter Yvonne Tahana explains. Source: 1 NEWS