“Kiwi-owned vape businesses are disappointed the Government is rushing through its vaping legislation in time for the election campaign, while the local industry remains completely in the dark over the regulations,” said Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ) spokesperson, Jonathan Devery last month.
“As the bill stands, the regulations will take effect a few months after its given Royal Assent. However, alarmingly the industry still doesn’t know any detail around the many proposed regulations. We are absolutely committed to ensuring all our products and practices comply, but it’s difficult when there remains so much uncertainty,” he added.
Devery’s comments came just as the final stages of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill were being debated. Sadly, the bill has now been passed without the recommended amendments, and the vaping industry has three months to update itself in order to be compliant with the new regulations.
The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Vaping Amendment Bill will include the following rules:
- “Ban the sale of vaping products to those under the age of 18.
- Prohibit advertising the products and encouraging people to buy them in-store.
- Limit the sale of all flavours to specialist stores, including online retailers, with shops Like dairies, supermarkets and petrol stations restricted to mint, menthol and tobacco.
- Allow speciality stores to continue offering loyalty points and discounts.
- Ban vaping in cars with children.
- Enable all retailers to display products in-store.
- Provide a framework for regulations to be set where people are allowed to vape in or outside premises.
- Introduce a safety system which would allow the Ministry of Health to recall products, suspend them and issue warnings.”
A missed opportunity
Tobacco harm reduction expert and co-director of the Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA) Nancy Loucas, reiterated that this bill constitutes a missed opportunity. “New Zealand has missed its best opportunity to get as close as possible to Smokefree 2025, with the vaping legislation sadly falling well short,” she said.
In line with the comments by VTANZ, the AVCA has also recently voiced disappointment in the fact that the public submission period for the bill was shortened on Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa’s request. “This has been a poor process from beginning to end with vaping advocates, consumers and businesses forced to respond in a totally sub-optimal way. It didn’t have to be like this. This legislation could’ve been so much better and would’ve saved more lives from deadly combustible tobacco, but sadly the political blinkers were on,” she said.
Additionally, said Loucas, it is disappointing that MP Nicky Wagner’s proposed amendment to legalise oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches wasn’t supported, when this would have given Kiwi smokers another safer alternative to turn to in order to help them quit and keep off smoking with no adverse health problems.
“Then there’s our parliamentary petition that 17,357 people signed nearly six months ago. It obviously counted for nothing and we’re still awaiting Parliament’s response! Parliament unfortunately sided with the opponents’ emotion not the evidence. Let’s just hope New Zealand’s record-low smoking rate doesn’t start rising. MPs have been warned,” said Nancy Loucas.
Read Further: NZ Herald