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Right to regulate vaping but wrong to limit flavours - VTANZ

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

News that the Government is set to regulate vaping is welcomed. However, heavily restricting where most vape flavours can be sold is a step too far and could lead to rising smoking rates, says the Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ).

Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa has announced she will introduce the long-awaited Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill into Parliament tomorrow.

VTANZ spokesperson, Jonathan Devery, says the independent vape industry in New Zealand supports the arrival of safety standards, and strict R18 enforcement to protect young people.

"Consumers deserve the highest product safeguards, but they also deserve a viable alternative to smoking. Restricting the most popular adult flavours to specialist stores, and prohibiting all advertising will not help one smoker quit tobacco. It only adds barriers and makes it harder for Kiwis to give up cigarettes," says Mr Devery.

"A total advertising ban is short-sighted. We need to be able to communicate the benefits of our products to adult smokers, even in a restricted way, in order to convert them to something 95% less harmful."

He says while limiting flavours to tobacco, menthol and mint in corner dairies has some merit, extending such restrictions to all supermarkets and service stations is too tough when those retail environments are heavily controlled.

"Ex-adult smokers love flavours, that is how they’ve managed to quit tobacco. In fact, we know 90% of adult smokers require vape flavours to successfully make the switch. Flavoured vapes have been a huge contributor to New Zealand’s record-low smoking rates, and there remains no evidence that flavours lead to youth vaping," he says.

"The industry has long been calling for the Government to regulate vaping, but any provisions must help, not hinder, Smokefree 2025. Restricting access to the most successful flavours for adults, and burying any opportunity to promote this incredibly effective smoking cessation tool will be counterproductive."

He says it’s positive that online vape product purchases will remain. They are critical for adult smokers, and effective age verification processes are easily achievable. Further, the industry is happy to meet with the Minister to pro-offer practical improvements to prevent online underage access.

"Enshrining product standards and cementing vaping’s R18 status we can totally agree on. However, messing with vaping’s appeal and access for adult smokers is something we will fight every step of the way. Most of us in VTANZ are ex-smokers and we want more Kiwis to join the club, not fewer," says Mr Devery.

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