On introducing the long awaited Vaping Amendment Bill, the health ministry of New Zealand, 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. However despite this, the amendment still bans all forms of advertising.
In response to this, local vaping association VTANZ has pointed out that not communicating the relative health benefits of the devices is nonsensical. “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.”
Calling for sensible regulations, instead of blanket bans
Attorney-General David Parker, concurs. A report by the politician says that besides the fact that banning the advertising or promotion of vaping products is ‘inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression’ under the Bill of Rights Act, prohibiting adverts for the safer alternatives does not make sense.
He added that while “some restrictions on advertising were likely justifiable, a blanket prohibition was not a ‘proportionate response, given the lack of evidence for (vaping) being harmful’. On the contrary, vaping is significantly safer than smoking,” he stated.
A total advertising ban would be counterproductive
VTANZ spokesperson Jonathan Devery, is hoping that Parliament will listen to Parker’s advice. “Here’s hoping Parliament listens to the Attorney-General’s sage advice. A total advertising ban would be counterproductive. 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,” said Devery.