AVCA issues Bill of Consumer Rights for Vapers in NZ
AVCA issues Bill of Consumer Rights for Vapers in New Zealand
The Aotearoa Vape Community Advocacy (AVCA) group has issued a “Bill of Consumer Rights in New Zealand” (http://www.avca.org.nz/news/bcrvape/) that they hope will highlight the issues surrounding the legality and availability of nicotine containing e liquid in the retail market as well as an outline on what the vaping consumers of Aotearoa want and expect from both Government and NZ vendors of electronic cigarettes and accessories.
According to Steve Dohmen, co-founder of AVCA, “we needed to address the issues we were coming up with from consumers regarding the lack of advice and guidance from the Ministry of Health regarding electronic cigarettes and nicotine e liquid, as well as their concerns with the lack of regulation of the industry in New Zealand.” Dohmen went further to state “some of the community have come to us to ask directly why some vendors are openly offering nicotine containing e liquid on the retail market, and had asked if the laws had been changed without notice.”
Upon hearing these stories, Dohmen and AVCA co-founder Nancy Sutthoff began polling the vaping community and doing their own “recon” to find out the extent of the concerns and the availability of nicotine containing e liquid illegally. These polls were done both online and in real life, on the streets of Wellington, Lower Hutt and Wairarapa. These investigations confirmed the stories they had heard. Not only did they find nicotine containing e liquid was being sold in dairies, dollar stores and petrol stations, but also that this nicotine containing e liquid of unknown origin and quality. Sutthoff stated “it is fairly obvious to anyone in the vaping community, as well as in the health care sector, that nicotine containing e liquid is widely and readily, if illegally, available to anyone throughout the country.”
Dohmen went further to say that it is rather ridiculous to have a law on the books that is not enforced and may, in fact, cause more harm than good. “It would be better, from both a public health and a consumer perspective, that the official vape vendors of New Zealand, such as the members of VTANZ, who have the knowledge and experience around e cigarettes be the ones who can legally offer nicotine containing e liquid to the public as a retail consumer 18+ product and minimise any risks or liabilities that may be associated with their use.” Sutthoff concluded by saying “We have sent numerous requests to the Ministry of Health to clarify their position, only to receive the same exact form letter each time, that does not answer the specific questions surrounding the issue.”. Both Dohmen and Sutthoff hope that the Ministry of Health takes this document on board, as well as the previous offers to engage with AVCA about the situation.