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Widespread Retail Sales And Communications Needed For Vaping Switch

Imperial Brands has advised the Select Committee reviewing proposed vaping legislation that the Bill must be changed to allow widespread availability through retailers and promotion.

The company, which appeared in front of the Committee yesterday, says vaping products will only be used by smokers if they are at least as accessible as cigarettes and any retailer can encourage smokers to switch.

The company’s submission says the Bill should extend freedom of product sales and advice from specialist stores to retail outlets where most smokers go, like dairies and supermarkets.

“The option to purchase a vaping product should be available where-ever cigarettes are sold. Restricting availability of vaping products will discourage use and drive consumers back to smoking or to illicit vaping.”

Imperial says vaping advertisements complement existing quit smoking measures because communicating about the benefits helps smokers to switch. It notes that the Surge report by ASH and End Smoking New Zealand says marketing of vaping is in effect “anti-smoking advertising”.

“Retailers have a pivotal role in relaying the information to consumers. This often occurs at point of sale.

“Smokers need to be made aware of the benefits of vaping and controlled advertising should be permitted to encourage them to transition.”

Imperial advocates that non-tobacco and non-combustible tobacco products are treated completely differently to tobacco.

“It is unjustified to apply Smoke-free Environments legislation to vaping products since they are not tobacco products… and pose no known risk to bystanders.”

“Controlled advertising should be permitted via TV, radio, internet, print and outdoor media.”

The company says consumer safety provisions, which will be covered in later regulations arising from the Bill, need to increase quality, safety and manufacturing standards for all vaping products. They recommend that only registered products should be permitted for sale, and these should contain only permitted ingredients, a maximum of 5% nicotine, and require tamper proof systems.

“Effective safety standards will clear out poor quality or dangerous products and improve user and public confidence in vaping.

“Ingredients should be regulated based on the highest toxicological standards and vape products should also be properly sealed, packaged and labelled. We believe that pod-based vape systems offer the best opportunity to ensure that both the ingredients and the generated vapour aerosol fall within pre-defined and regulated standards.”

The Bill currently gives regulatory decision-making power to the Ministry of Health, but Imperial says that Standards New Zealand should play a leading role in setting vaping product standards.

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