The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill restricts the number of retailers able to sell tobacco products, bans the sale of the products to anyone born in 2009 or after, and aims to make tobacco products less appealing and addictive.

Last year the AVCA was amongst the local groups publicly calling for greater enforcement. “Retailers have had long enough to know right from wrong. I respect the Government’s initial focus is on educating retailers about the new law, but it’s now time to move onto enforcement.”

AVCA co-founder, Nancy Loucas, agrees with the overall aim of the bill but is however concerned about the lack of enforcement by general convenience shops which close part of their shops to sell the products. “Making new regulations without consistent and effective enforcement is an exercise in futility. There will be push back from some convenience store operators who have already shown by selling vaping products to minors that they are more concerned with revenue than the public good,” said Loucas.

She recently emphasised that the industry is in favour of regulations that ensure minors have no access to the products. “I’m pleased Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall and Health New Zealand are promising more compliance checks and enforcement. No one wants kids vaping and so any rogue dairy owners need the book thrown at them and fast. No prosecutions have so far been made and that needs to change forthwith.”

Submissions deadline is on the 24th of August

To this effect, she is urging all vapers and tobacco harm reduction advocates to have their say on the bill and make submissions until the stipulated deadline: August 24th. “To read more about the smokefree amendment bill and to make a submission by 24 August, visit https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_125245/smokefree-environments-and-regulated-products-smoked-tobacco.”

“Vaping is why New Zealand’s overall smoking rate has never been lower and why the country is on track to achieve Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 – where five percent of fewer smoke. Good on the Government for its renewed smokefree focus, via its latest bill. However, let’s remember who the enemy is here – combustible tobacco,” she emphasized in a recent press release.

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