Announcing the changes that have come into effect, Health Minister Andrew Little said: “Today’s changes mean the laws around vaping are now similar to those around tobacco smoking. These changes will prevent vaping products from being marketed or sold to non-smokers, especially young people, while ensuring that they are available for smokers who want to switch to a less harmful alternative.
“Vaping is not without risks, but it is less harmful than cigarette smoking, which is why the legislation allows for the provision of information and advice for those wishing to switch from smoking to vaping.”
But will it achieve that?
The changes mean:
- The sale or supply of vaping products to under 18s is prohibited
- Indoor vaping is prohibited at workplaces, casinos, restaurants and licensed premises
- Indoor vaping is banned from gaming machine venues
- Vaping is prohibited at schools and early childhood centres
- Most advertising and sponsorship of vaping products is prohibited
- Retailers cannot encourage the use of vaping products
Quite how banning companies from telling the truth about vaping or restricting where smokers could be tempted to switch is a forward step is difficult to fathom.
Worse, patients in hospital or mental health care facilities will only be allowed to vape if the institution has provided a room with a dedicated mechanical ventilation system and have provided “an adequate equivalent room available for patients or residents who wish to socialise in an emissions-free atmosphere.”
Jonathan Devery, co-owner of Alt New Zealand and VAPO, commented: “Vaping is the most effective smoking cessation tool the world has ever had. Yet its advertising is now banned in New Zealand, which will simply and sadly lead to less Kiwis giving up cigarettes.”
He told Planet of the Vapes that it’s disappointing New Zealand taxpayers alone will have to fund any vaping campaigns from now on.
“The vape industry would’ve happily adhered to heavily regulated advertising and message restrictions - like the alcohol industry does. Restricted advertising works well in the UK, but unfortunately New Zealand vape businesses have now lost all opportunity to reach out to smokers. Instead, it will be the taxpayer alone funding smoking cessation by vaping.”
Consumer groups Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA) warned that, in addition to the government’s new rules, many councils have made their outdoor city centre areas and council parks vape-free as well.
AVCA is concerned that with vaping, in many cases, now being treated like smoking, the effective smoking cessation tool may be further stigmatised. Instead, they say, councils, workplaces and employers should be creating opportunities for vapers to vape, otherwise more will return to considerably harmful smoking.
AVCA says it would be a terrible unintended consequence of the new vaping legislation if bad employers used the new regulations to try to ban employees from vaping even outside.
“We now encourage non-vaping Kiwis to remember vaping is stopping their colleagues, friends, and family from smoking. We ask that vapers respect the new legal framework, but we also ask that everyone else respect that vapers can still legitimately vape in plenty of places.”