“Our analysis shows over 95% of the 200-plus flavour concentrates in our manufacturing facility contain some form of sweetening agent. An all-out ban on sweeteners is essentially a total flavour ban, with nearly every vaping product immediately outlawed. Effectively, this proposed regulation kills the industry and local businesses will have no other option but to fold,” said Devery.
They added that there’s no scientific basis whatsoever for the blanket ban. “Vaping products without additives such as sweeteners quite simply results in flavours that will be unpalatable. The flavour of the products will be so bitter that very few, if any, individuals will be able to continue vaping. If this proposed regulation remains unchanged, traditional tobacco products will be more palatable than vaping products.”
A drop in smoking thanks to vaping
In March, New Zealand’s Treasury released the Crown accounts for the seven months to January 31, 2021. These indicated a drop in tobacco tax revenue of almost $700 million compared to the same period last year, and this is being mainly attributed to a 47.8% decline in tobacco duty, as a result of a reduced demand for tobacco products.
Speaking about the this positive downward trend in smoking, Nancy Loucas, the co-director of Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA), said that if the Ministry of Health makes vaping regulations too stringent, fewer smokers in the future will move to the safer (and cheaper) alternatives.
“This latest slump in tobacco tax collected was much bigger than expected, and vaping can take a lot of the credit for New Zealand’s declining rates of smoking over the past decade.”
“However, if the proposed vaping regulations come into force vaping will be made a lot less attractive for smokers desperate to quit cigarettes. More Kiwis continuing to smoke might help Government revenue, but it won’t help reduce New Zealand smoking’s death rate of 5,000 people per annum,” said Loucas.
Flavours should be more accessible to adults
She added, that precisely for this reason, flavoured safer alternatives should be made more available rather than restricted as per the draft vaping regulations which would come into effect on 11 August 2021.
“We know vapers quit smoking with fruit and dessert flavours. Adults love flavours and need them to be available everywhere cigarettes are sold. That would make common-sense right?”
She added that the logic behind limiting flavours for grownups, to prevent teens from taking up vaping is illogical. “Children are protected as much as possible with vaping products now heavily sanctioned R18. Significant penalties apply if retailers breach that, and like with alcohol and cigarettes, retailers will take the privilege incredibly seriously,” she said.