“We’ve been calling for regulation for over five years. It was promised over a year ago, and we’re still waiting. These delays and ongoing uncertainty are having a massive impact on New Zealand-owned businesses and the many Kiwis who work in them,” said spokesperson for VTANZ, Jonathan Devery.
Devery said that the vaping industry is concerned that Big Tobacco is irresponsibly targeting youth, whilst the potential of vaping for smoking cessation is being held back. Addressed to Health Minister Jenny Salesa, who has promised to introduce the Smoke-free Environments (Vaping) Amendment Bill into Parliament soon, the open letter calls for reasonable regulations.
Among the measures expected to be introduced by the Kiwi government, Salesa has indicated that a flavour ban is highly probable. Meanwhile, in line with findings by countless studies, Devery pointed out that 90% of adults transitioning from smoking to vaping, rely on flavours to quit successfully.
Do flavours really increase youth vaping?
He explained that contrary to claims from the US, in most countries including New Zealand, there is no evidence that flavours lead to youth vaping. On the contrary, in the UK for example, does not have a youth vaping epidemic despite there being unlimited flavours for adults. Devery added that locally, vaping has played a major role in decreasing smoking rates.
“We are totally against youth marketing and are all for R18 sales. However, if the Government wants to achieve that as well as deliver falling smoking rates, it actually has to introduce some sound and sensible vaping regulations sooner rather than later.
“Doing nothing is not helping one Kiwi smoker to quit tobacco, nor is it helping the growing Kiwi vape industry plan for its future – an industry which now involves hundreds and hundreds of employees and New Zealand families,” concluded Devery.