In a bold move, the New Zealand government also decided to exempt nicotine containing liquids from the strong tobacco control laws in New Zealand – a country where cigarettes are sold in plain packages with some of the highest excise taxes in the world.
“That’s an important thing”, said New Zealand Health Minister Nicky Wagner, “so that when a smoker goes into the dairy, he or she will see cigarettes at a very high price and e-cigarettes much cheaper.”
It’s not all good news, however, as vaping will be banned in enclosed public spaces. But on the whole, vape shop owners were happy with the decision – to date they have been providing nicotine-free eliquid at their stores. While the addition to nicotine in stores is not uncommon in the country, no-one has ever been arrested for it.
Cosmic, which claims to be the country’s leading e-cigarette retailer, and its owner Mark Carswell, were delighted by the decision.
“We stand behind the counter day after day. We’re at the coalface,” he said. “We have smokers who’ve been smoking 30, 40 years saying this is the best thing that’s happened to them.”
Peter Beckett is MD of Beckett Associates