“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 VTANZ spokesperson Jonathan Devery.
“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.
His comments come as the final stages of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill will be debated in the coming days, after the House resumes for its final three-week session before the General Election.
The vaping industry has been asking for regulations for years
It is frustrating that the regulations which have been long awaited by the industry are now being rushed with much too little consideration.
Similarly, co-director of the Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA) and executive coordinator of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) Nancy Loucas, has recently pointed out that rather than rushing the bill in the last few days leading to the local General Election, the bill’s complexities should be discussed afterwards. “We’ve been calling for legislation for years, and to think it could now be rushed through under Urgency is completely unacceptable. Sadly, the only winners will be the shareholders of multinational corporations,” she said.
“Given time is now short, Parliament should do the right thing and debate the bill after the election. Then MPs will have a fresh mandate and be more focused to deal with the many complex issues the proposed regulation brings.”
VTANZ is now calling on Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa to provide clarity to the Kiwi vape industry on the Government’s regulatory process and its promised consultation with industry, whilst ensuring that the proposed timelines are workable. In line with Ms Loucas’s comments, Devery pointed out how frustrating it is for the industry that the long awaited regulations are now being rushed with much too little consideration.
“The vaping industry has been calling for regulation for five years, so it’s hugely disappointing that the bill is now set to be passed under urgency, with all the regulations then foisted upon us. That’s really unfair on any business. To ensure the best product standards, for example, Government officials need to work closely with industry on the regulations. Rushed legislation does not make good law! It should not be passed in haste, but by the next Parliament with cool heads after the election and after some serious collaboration.”
Suggested bill amendments
VTANZ also referred to two submissions made by MP Nicky Wagner. One of these Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs) would lift the ban on oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches, and the other would allow businesses that receive at least 50% (not 70%) of their turnover from vaping products, to be allowed the specialist vape retailer status.
“We look forward to these two amendments being debated, but we’re also hoping for more substantive changes. Ideally, these would include increasing the number of vape flavours – beyond the proposed three – that general retailers are permitted to sell,” concluded Devery.