New Zealand will regulate for full retail adult availability of new nicotine products. Bowing to public demand – and acknowledging it as the driver for change – the government is going ahead with legalising vaping despite the proximity of a general election later this year.
In a statement, Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner (right) today announced the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid will be made legal with appropriate controls. “This is an opportunity to see if restricted access to e-cigarettes and e-liquid can help lower our smoking rates, reduce harm and save lives,” she commented. “Scientific evidence on the safety of e-cigarettes is still developing but there’s a general consensus that vaping is much less harmful than smoking,” Ms Wagner said. “The Government is taking a cautious approach by aligning the regulations around vaping with those for cigarettes. This ensures cigarette smokers have access to a lower-risk alternative while we continue to discourage people from smoking or vaping in the first place.”
As expected – and advised by responsible vaping organisations – availability of products and liquids will be restricted to 18+, advertising will be “limited” (details not yet available) and use of new nicotine products will remain limited where smoking is banned – for the moment.
“The Government is strongly committed to achieving our goal of a smoke-free New Zealand by 2025.”
All vaping products will need to meet quality and safety standards. The Ministry of Health will set up a technical advisory group to help define these standards.
A regulatory regime will also be established so the Ministry can consider whether other emerging tobacco and nicotine-delivery products should be regulated as consumer products in future.
“Public consultation showed a strong appetite for change so the Government is looking to introduce an amendment to the Smoke-free Environments Act this year. The changes will likely come into force later in 2018,” Ms Wagner said.
The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the evidence concerning e-cigarettes and other emerging tobacco and nicotine-delivery products.