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The New Zealand Government is legalizing nicotine e-liquids for retail sale. But the process will take time and the situation in New Zealand has not changed:

  • 0 mg nicotine e-liquid is legal for retail sale,
  • Individuals can import nicotine containing e-liquid and/or diluent for PERSONAL use legally.

The Ministry of Health has acknowledged they are aware of rogue vendors who are selling nicotine e-liquid in the open, in defiance of the current law, but do not have the means/ability to enforce the current restriction on that – which was the impetus behind the legalisation process being started.

Nancy Stutthoff, Director of AVCA
Nancy Sutthoff, Director of the AVCA

Nancy Sutthoff, director of the NZ Consumer Advocacy group (AVCA), says AVCA is working on the regulatory process, right now. She warns her audience that a change in the law does not have to be expected before 12 to 18 months.

The Ministry of Health are collating all the public submissions received during August/September 2016 in order to make a tentative agenda for further discussions on how to proceed with the legalisation process of nicotine e liquid.  AVCA are involved in this and have been told that as stakeholders, they will be involved in the negotiations towards getting that done.

 “The Ministry of Health is not due to make any public statements on the situation until the end of October, earliest.”Nancy Sutthoff - AVCA

The different regulatory options

However, recalls Nancy, celebration is not yet on the agenda since the modalities of the future regulation remain to be defined by the government. Classified with an increasing burden order:

  • “light touch” regulation: meaning that the products would be available in any other places were age-limited products are for sale, including those without credit card: supermarkets, vape shops, gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores;
  • “medium touch” regulation: meaning that the sale is restricted to registered stores (vape shops, pharmacies);
  • TPD-like” regulation;
  • FDA-like” regulation.

NZ implication in WHO’s seventh conference of Parties (CoP 7)

The second point on which the AVCA is working hard is WHO’s CoP 7 to be held in November in New Delhi, India.

AVCA recall that with its propositions, New Zealand is far ahead of the suggestions that are presented in the CoP 7 FCTC ‘guidelines’ issued under 5.2.2 and is moving towards a progressive policy regarding legalising nicotine e-liquid for retail consumer sale.

“We are waiting on response from Ministry of Health to a request for information on their response to the CoP 7 FCTC ‘guidelines’ issued under 5.2.2 as NZ are signatories to the agreement.”Nancy Sutthoff - AVCA

“The hope is that New Zealand can represent a more progressive thought process on the situation than that which seems to be the WHO viewpoint on e-cigarettes (or ENDS/ENNDS as WHO refers to them).”Nancy Sutthoff - AVCA

Vapers for the most part just want to know that what they are vaping is of the highest quality. The vendor association here is called VTANZ and they have a self regulation manufacturing and equipment guideline that they follow. It aligns with the AVCA Consumer Bill of Rights/Certification protocol.

The first A in AVCA stands for Aotearoa, the Māori name of the Land. But in the Māori language, Aotearoa also means “Land of the Long White Cloud”, perhaps auspicious for NZ vapers?

More readings about WHO’s CoP7:

WHO: Maybe a light at the end of the tunnel for the Ecig?