Kiwis have until the 15th of March at 5pm to submit.
New Zealand’s Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall has launched a consultation document about the proposed measures titled ‘Proposals for the Smoked Tobacco Regulatory Regime’. “Kiwis need to have their say on the Government’s proposed measures aimed at youth vaping, with submissions closing on 15 March,” said Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates) Nancy Loucas.
The proposals include amending standards of current product safety requirements and packaging, nicotine levels in disposable vapes and include restrictions on the location of Specialist Vape Retailers (SVRs).
“The Minister has made clear she does not want to restrict access or availability to vaping products for people who wish to stop smoking and switch to less harmful products. However, our concern is that some of these measures will do exactly that which could hinder Smokefree Aotearoa 2025,” said Loucas.
Some of the proposals are misguided
CAPHRA highlighted that these proposals perpetuate the illusion that youth vaping is skyrocketing, when evidence clearly indicates that it is actually well under control. “According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the youth vaping rate in the United States has been in steady decline since 2020. In fact, youth vaping in the US has plummeted by 60% over the past two years. In New Zealand, data continues to show that very few non-smoking teenagers take up vaping. Further, vaping is not an on-ramp to smoking, but an off-ramp,” she said.
“I appreciate that these additional proposals are well intentioned. We just need to make sure they’re not counterproductive for the many desperate Kiwi smokers who want to quit tobacco but need a viable and accessible alternative to do so,” she added. To this effect, she is encouraging all Kiwis to have their say and submit on the proposals at 5.00pm on 15 March 2023.
The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020
Meanwhile, recently discussing the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020, Loucas said that the act aims to strike a balance between ensuring vaping products are available for smokers who want to switch to safer alternatives and ensuring these products aren’t marketed or sold to minors. However she adds, there is more that can be done to prevent ill-intentioned retailers from illicitly selling the products to minors.
“If youth vaping is a problem, the solution is not changing the law, as it’s already more than adequate. Solutions lie with parental responsibility and greater enforcement by the regulator. Heavy sanctions can be applied to those caught selling to minors. Any rogue retailers now need to face the consequences, as they’re making good legislation look bad,” said Loucas.
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