New vaping laws receive mixed reactions
Mixed reactions are coming out following the new vaping laws, which come into effect today.
The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020, passed in August and is now officially in effect.
It introduces a range of prohibitions and restrictions on vaping which will be phased in over a 15-month period through to February 2022.
This includes the prohibition of the sale or supply of vaping products to under 18s, indoor vaping is prohibited at workplaces, restaurants and licensed premises, most advertising and sponsorship of vaping products is prohibited and vaping is prohibited at schools and early childhood centres (including outdoors).
One of the largest Kiwi-owned vape companies is pleased regulations around vaping are finally starting to take effect.
But says the advertising ban on vaping will not help New Zealand reach its ambitious Smokefree 2025 goal.
“Vaping is the most effective smoking cessation tool the world has ever had. Yet its advertising is now banned in New Zealand, which will sadly lead to less Kiwis giving up cigarettes,” says Jonathan Devery, co-owner of Alt New Zealand and VAPO.
ACT Party leader David Seymour also believes the new laws will also lead to people smoking cigarettes for longer.
“Restrictions on vaping flavours and a ban on advertising will kill off the best tool for quitting smoking and will condemn more people to cigarettes for longer.
“Labour has cracked down on an alternative that is 95 per cent safer than tobacco as if it was tobacco.”
Health Minister Andrew Little says the laws are intended to discourage young people from vaping while allowing smokers to continue using vaping to give up cigarettes.
“These changes will prevent vaping products from being marketed or sold to non-smokers, especially young people, while ensuring that they are available for smokers who want to switch to a less harmful alternative,” says Little.
“Vaping is not without risks, but it is less harmful than cigarette smoking, which is why the legislation allows for the provision of information and advice for those wishing to switch from smoking to vaping.”
Seymour believes restricting flavour will mean more adults will smoke for longer.
“Smokers must have the incentive and the information to switch. Vaping is a much safer alternative to smoking and should not be placed on a level playing field with cigarettes,” says Seymour.
“Punishing tobacco taxes haven’t stopped people smoking. Meanwhile, shop owners get bashed up because the tax means bricks of tobacco are like gold bars in their cupboards. But the free market has delivered a safe, innovative solution for smokers wanting to quit. Thousands of smokers are switching to this much safer alternative.”
Devery says the vape industry would’ve happily adhered to heavily regulated advertising and message restrictions - like the alcohol industry does.
He says restricted advertising works well in the UK, but unfortunately New Zealand vape businesses have now lost all opportunity to reach out to smokers.
“Instead, it will be the taxpayer alone funding smoking cessation by vaping.”
Devery and his business partner Ben Pryor believe the outright advertising ban for private companies will make it impossible for Kiwi brands to differentiate themselves from international tobacco giants now selling vape products in New Zealand.
He says it will also be harder for Kiwi vapers keen to support local businesses and jobs in this COVID-19 environment.
“We are pleased for the certainty around the regulations to be rolled out over the next 15 months which strictly enforce vaping as an R18 activity and will ensure product safety standards.
“However, we ask the new Health Minister Andrew Little and Associate Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall to ensure Big Tobacco companies comply with the spirit of the Act, and that Kiwi vape companies aren’t disadvantaged as a consequence.”