Vaping Legislation Passes But Falls Well Short
“New Zealand has missed its best opportunity to get as close as possible to Smokefree 2025, with the vaping legislation sadly falling well short,” says Nancy Loucas, co-director of Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA).
Late last night Parliament rushed to pass the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill before rising today for the General Election.
This follows AVCA voicing its earlier disappointment that the public submission period was shortened on Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa’s request. Oral submitters then had to present via teleconference during the stressful lockdown period to a disengaged Health Select Committee.
“This has been a poor process from beginning to end with vaping advocates, consumers and businesses forced to respond in a totally sub-optimal way. It didn’t have to be like this. This legislation could’ve been so much better and would’ve saved more lives from deadly combustible tobacco, but sadly the political blinkers were on,” she says.
Ms Loucas says the fact the Minister had to push through her own last-minute amendments was proof of the Government’s hurried and incomplete work.
AVCA is also disappointed MP Nicky Wagner’s amendment to legalise oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches wasn’t supported when they help thousands of Kiwis to quit and keep off smoking with no adverse health problems.
“Then there’s our parliamentary petition that 17,357 people signed nearly six months ago. It obviously counted for nothing and we’re still awaiting Parliament’s response!”
AVCA’s petition to Parliament requested ‘That the House of Representatives debate the Government’s proposal to limit flavoured nicotine e-liquids to mint, menthol and tobacco’.
“Now in law, general and online-only vape retailers will soon only be allowed to sell just three vape flavours. Adults, however, love flavours - that’s how they successfully switch from cigarettes, but our politicians weren’t listening.
“Parliament unfortunately sided with the opponents’ emotion not the evidence. Let’s just hope New Zealand’s record-low smoking rate doesn’t start rising. MPs have been warned,” says Nancy Loucas.