‘It’s taken a while’: Government unveils plans to restrict sale of vaping

Author
Aaron Dahmen,
Publish Date
Sun, 23 Feb 2020, 5:00AM
Jenny Salesa says the delay in introducing the legislation has been largely technical. (Photo / Getty)

‘It’s taken a while’: Government unveils plans to restrict sale of vaping

Author
Aaron Dahmen,
Publish Date
Sun, 23 Feb 2020, 5:00AM

More than a year after legislation was first promised, the Government has revealed plans to regulate vaping.

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Vaping Amendment Bill is set to be introduced to Parliament on Monday.

It includes a ban on selling to under-18-year-olds, no advertising of vaping or smokeless tobacco products, and restricts most flavours to speciality stores.

Those stores will be impacted by the proposed changes, as they would have to apply to be a specialist vape retailer, and can only get approval if 85 per cent of their sales are vaping products.

They would be able to sell all non-prohibited flavours, while dairies and gas stations can only retail tobacco, mint and menthol.

That’s proposed to come into effect six months after Royal Assent, to allow for a transition period.

Speaking exclusively to Newstalk ZB, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa said the focus is on striking the balance between making vaping available to smokers as a quit-tool, and keeping Kiwi kids away from picking it up.

"Ensuring our young people do not have access to vaping products and e-cigarettes is one of the things we're trying to get to.

"This is a considered approach that responds to many of the concerns regarding vaping", she said.

The Bill also looks at introducing a product safety system, enabling the Ministry of Health to recall, suspend, and issue warnings. Vaping products and smokeless tobacco will also be banned in smokefree areas.

Plans to regulate the vaping industry were first announced in November 2018, and Salesa acknowledges legislation has taken a while.

But she wouldn't be drawn on whether the delays were political, just saying it took time to work through all the details.

When asked if there will be vaping law in place by the election on September 19, Salesa was adamant things will move quickly.

"You can rest assured that I'll be asking for an expedited process", she said. 

Newstalk ZB previously revealed the Ministry of Health urged the Government to act quickly more than six months ago.

A July memo released under the Official Information Act, highlighted the fast growth of vaping and similar technology.

The memo to Salesa included options to speed up the Bill's path through Parliament.

It proposed introducing the Bill in September, then shortening the select committee process, to have regulation in place by the end of 2019.