On introducing the Vaping Amendment Bill, the health ministry acknowledged that vaping and the consumption of smokeless tobacco products are less harmful than smoking, and that due to this the bill will exempt these products from some of the provisions that apply to tobacco products. “(The bill) enables all retailers to display products in-store, in contrast to requirements that require tobacco products to be out of the public’s sight,” said the ministry.
“We are making sure that we are protecting our kids but at the same time ensuring that smokers who want to use vaping as a quit tool still have access to those products,” added Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa.
With regards to flavours, the bill bans all flavoured e-liquids and pods with the exception of tobacco, mint and menthol from all retail outlets, aside from specialized vape shops. “Flavors may be used to attract children and young people to vape or use smokeless tobacco products, however, they also seem to be an important factor in supporting smokers to switch,” said the government in the bill.
The VTANZ disagrees with the restrictions imposed on adverts and flavours
Meanwhile, releasing a statement in response to the bill, the Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ) said that while they have been calling for regulations for over five years, they believe that banning flavours and adverts will have a detrimental effect on smoking rates.
“Consumers deserve the highest product safeguards, but they also deserve a viable alternative to smoking. Restricting the most popular adult flavours to specialist stores, and prohibiting all advertising will not help one smoker quit tobacco. It only adds barriers and makes it harder for Kiwis to give up cigarettes,” said VTANZ spokesperson Jonathan Devery.
“A total advertising ban is short-sighted. We need to be able to communicate the benefits of our products to adult smokers, even in a restricted way, in order to convert them to something 95% less harmful.”
Flavours encourage adult smokers to quit
“Ex-adult smokers love flavours, that is how they’ve managed to quit tobacco. In fact, we know 90% of adult smokers require vape flavours to successfully make the switch. We all agree that flavoured vapes have been a huge contributor to New Zealand’s record-low smoking rates,” added Devery.
“It’s positive that specialist vape stores can still sell all flavours but prohibiting popular adult flavours everywhere else won’t make any difference to youth vaping rates. There remains no evidence, here or overseas, that flavours lead to youth vaping and vaping leads to smoking. The latest ASH survey completely reinforces that.”