The Government plans to start regulating vaping and smokeless tobacco products, including banning them from bars, restaurants and workplaces.
Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa announced on Friday the Government plans to amend the Smokefree Environments Act 1990 next year. The Act currently bans people from smoking in public spaces and workplaces, and restricts advertising of tobacco products. The amendment will extend some of these restrictions to vaping and smokeless tobacco products, including preventing vaping in public spaces and changing how they can be displayed in retail stores – effectively altering how they can be advertised.
Ms Salesa told NewstalkZB the amendment is to help people to quit smoking, while still protecting young people from taking up vaping.
“We’re not actually encouraging our young people to take up vaping but we are allowing adults, those who wish to stop smoking, to have this as a possible tool.”
When she announced the policy, Ms Salesa said this was because they although vaping is less harmful than smoking, it’s not risk-free.
Dr Robert Beaglehole, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) chair and Professor in public health at the University of Auckland, told the NZ Herald: that while he understood the move was to protect children and non-smokers, “we should be doing everything we can to encourage smokers to switch to vaping” and that anything that makes it harder for smokers to switch should be considered carefully.
The amendment will make clear that smokeless tobacco products can’t be sold to under 18 year-olds, something the current legislation doesn’t cover as it wasn’t relevant when the Act was originally passed. This decision is back up by a 2016 public consultation by the Ministry of Health which showed strong support for the continued prohibition of sales of vaping products to people under 18. This isn’t the end for the public’s involvement though, as the amendment will go through public consultation before it is passed into law.
NZ Vaping Alliance managing director QJ Stachell has been lobbying the Government to regulate the industry for the last five years. He told the ODT this announcement was a step in the right direction.
“Now we know there will be a minimum standard suppliers will have to hit and I think that will be good for the industry.”
The announcement was covered across a number of local outlets, including:
TVNZ: Government announces plan for new restrictions on vaping, including ban at bars and restaurants
NZHerald: Govt announces proposed plans to ban vaping in bars, restaurants and workplaces
Newshub: Government announces plans to regulate vaping
ODT: Vapers not bothered by Govt plans
The Spinoff: What will the new rules around vaping mean for you?
Stuff: Plan to ban vaping in bars, restaurants, schools and workplaces in New Zealand
SunLive: Govt plans to regulate vaping
RadioNZ: Govt plans to ban vaping in bars and workplaces
NewstalkZB: Government faces backlash over new vaping policy