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Govt now needs to limit number of cigarette retailers

“With the series of annual cigarette tax hikes now complete, the Government needs to keep driving the country’s smokefree ambition and that includes not punishing the most effective smoking cessation tool New Zealand has – vaping.”

The comments from Ben Pryor, spokesperson of the Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ), follow tobacco prices increasing by over 11% on New Year’s Day, pushing up a 25-pack of cigarettes to over $40.

Mr Pryor says following four years of planned tax increases on tobacco, limiting access to cigarettes should be the Government’s next tactic to help achieve Smokefree 2025.

“Price hikes have helped smoking rates to fall, but more so has the arrival of vaping. The next thing the Government should do to reduce smoking is to simply restrict the access Kiwis have to cigarettes, and that includes limiting the types and numbers of retail outlets permitted to sell them.

“Making cigarettes less available should now be the primary goal of the Government, not restricting the access and appeal of vaping - a product that has so far helped tens of thousands of Kiwi smokers to successfully quit deadly tobacco,” he says.

This year Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa will introduce the Smoke-free Environments (Vaping) Amendment Bill into Parliament. She has already indicated that the Government will restrict marketing and ban the most successful flavours for adults.

“If the Government gets too tough on vaping for adult smokers, international examples show it will only result in smoking rates rising and a dangerous unregulated black market emerging,” he says.

The representative for independent Kiwi vape businesses says VTANZ supports regulation, is all for mandatory high safety standards, R18 sales, and is totally against youth marketing.

“The Government needs to keep squashing smoking, support the good work its own Ministry of Health is doing promoting vaping as a quit tool, as well as deliver pragmatic legislation in 2020 that will ensure more Kiwi smokers can successfully switch to vaping,” says Ben Pryor.


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