The infamous Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill which bans e-cig adverts and restricts flavours, was passed on the 5th of August. Despite feeling that the bill was rushed in time for elections, the Kiwi vaping industry recognises that the situation is more dire in Australia, and is therefore asking local authorities to encourage the Australian government to regulate vaping aswell.
“We now want our New Zealand MPs to positively encourage the Australian Federal Government to follow suit and legalise and regulate vaping. Our Government needs to also raise its concerns over Australia’s decision to ban the importation of all e-cigarette products containing nicotine from 1 January 2021. Such a move will not only cost Australian lives, as more stick to smoking, but it will cost New Zealand jobs,” said VTANZ spokesperson Jonathan Devery.
The dire situation in Australia
This ban would have meant that while vapers would have technically still been able to obtain nicotine e-liquids through a doctor’s prescription, in reality not many would have managed, as only a handful of Australian doctors are willing to write nicotine prescriptions under current laws. Moreover, given the complex and time-consuming requirements of the new plan, even fewer doctors would have been inclined to write prescriptions following these changes.
As soon as this measure was announced, there was an outrage and a number of organizations and entities, including 28 Coalition MPs, spoke up against the ban. Australian Senator Matthew Canavan and MP George Christensen started a petition to overturn the import ban and to instead have it legalized and regulated.
Nicotine ban delayed
In response to these actions Health Minister Greg Hunt has decided to delay the ban by six months, at least giving vapers a grace period to find alternative smoking cessation aids. Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association Director Dr Colin Mendelsohn said it is a welcome delay. “I think the outrage from the community was just extraordinary. It makes no sense to make a far safer product hard to get.”