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Vape Bill for Kiwis

A New Zealand politician is bringing forward a bill to fully legalise vaping.

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The New Zealand National Party’s Nicky Wagner has put forward the Smoke-free Environments (Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes) Amendment Bill. In it she seeks to set about correcting a situation where the sale and supply of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid as consumer products is illegal.

In a press release, the party writes that the aim of the bill is to provide help for smokers to quit. It quotes National MP Nicky Wagner as saying: “The Members’ Bill I lodged this week, the Smoke-free Environments (Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes) Amendment Bill, designed to allow electronic cigarettes containing nicotine to be sold to persons over 18 years of age.”

“Currently the sale and supply of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid as consumer products is illegal. However, the Ministry of Health itself has said that e-cigarettes have the potential to contribute to the Smokefree 2025 goal.”

“E-cigarettes offer a better alternative to ordinary cigarettes for long-term, more engrained smokers and are significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco. They also pose no identified health risks to bystanders.”

“While our smoking rate continues to decline, we still lose 4500-5000 New Zealanders each year to smoking-related illnesses. We must be open to alternatives that help to wean smokers off cigarettes and have fewer health risks.”

“Although the numbers of smokers are decreasing and less young people are taking it up there is a group of long-term smokers, particularly Maori and Pasifika, who find it extremely difficult to quit.”

“Vaping and electronic cigarettes are not a cure-all, but they offer an alternative for bridging the gap between a long-term habit and quitting altogether.”

“There is no evidence that electronic cigarettes provide a gateway for smokers of tobacco cigarettes or that non-smokers are attracted to electronic cigarettes. I encourage all my Parliamentary colleagues to support this Bill through first reading.”

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union gave the announcement a very warm welcome. Its spokesperson, Louis Houlbrooke, said: “For too long, smokers have been taxed to the hilt while also being denied access to healthier alternatives like nicotine e-cigarettes.”

“The current law is a joke, with many retailers openly flouting it. Nicky Wagner’s bill is a common-sense acknowledgement of the fact that many thousands of former smokers are successfully using e-cigarettes to kick their habit.”

“It remains unclear why the current Government has put e-cigarette legalisation on hold. One theory is that they are so addicted to tobacco tax revenue that they don’t actually want to help smokers quit.”

“The Government could disprove this accusation by adopting Wagner’s bill as Government policy today.”

The New Zealand Vaping Alliance extended their gratitude to the politician on Twitter: “Thank you @nickywagner for continuing the leadership on harm reduction.”

A Twitter user called Tara added: “It's so wonderful to see a leader encouraging smokers to switch to vaping and not denying smokers the facts on how much safer vaping is than smoking. Thank you!”

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Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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