Vaping and nicotine e-cigarettes will be legalised in New Zealand, Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa has announced.
The Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 (SFEA) will change next year to give smokers more confidence in the quality of vaping and smokeless tobacco products – while also protecting children and young people from the risks associated with them.
“We’re supporting New Zealanders to be healthier by helping smokers switch to safer products,” Ms Salesa said. “At the same time, we’re protecting people who don’t smoke, especially young people.
“The proposed changes to the Smokefree Environments Act will put a stop to vaping and similar smokeless tobacco products in places such as bars, restaurants and workplaces. As we already do with cigarettes.
“There will also be changes to the way vaping products are displayed in retail stores. This will be similar to retail advertising of tobacco products.
“Vaping is a significantly less harmful alternative to smoking and has been used as an effective tool to quit smoking.
“However, it’s not completely risk free. That’s why we need to make it as safe as possible and protect young people from taking it up.
“Vaping is also cheaper. This is important because people on low incomes have some of the highest smoking rates.”
Australia continues to fall behind
Reacting to the announcement, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says this means Australia will continue to fall behind. It’ll soon sit behind more than 60 countries in continuing to ban alternatives to traditional tobacco products, the ARA says.
“The Health Minister [Greg Hunt] is standing in the way of a path towards better health outcomes for long-term smokers, due to a personal opposition to all forms of tobacco,” ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said.
“We call on the Minister to put his personal convictions aside for the benefit of Australians – and listen to our counterparts across the Tasman. They have clearly stated that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking.
“Allowing retailers the opportunity to sell these harm reduction alternatives is a win-win. It provides health benefits for the community and economic benefits – including a reduced burden on the health system and crucial support for local retailers.”