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Delay Vaping Bill And Ensure Product Access

The Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ) has written to the Associate Health Minister, Minister for Small Business, and the Chair of the Health Select Committee asking for the legislation to regulate vaping to be delayed and for clarity going forward.

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill has had its first reading in Parliament, with the Health Select Committee still calling for public submissions.

“We’ve been asking for the 1 April submission deadline be extended for some time. However, with the country now shutting down, Parliament won’t be operating as per usual. Hence, we’re urgently seeking information as to how the legislation will be dealt with,” says VTANZ spokesperson Jonathan Devery.

He says the Government intended to fast-track the bill in order to pass it before the election, which placed unnecessary pressure on vape businesses to make submissions when they were dealing with all the fall-out around the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With Parliament’s Business Committee teleconferencing today, we’re hoping they will give sectors like ours clarity on fundamental legislation currently before Parliament, so we can all focus on more pressing things, as can the MPs.”

He says it would be unfair for the Government to try to soldier on with compromised consultation, parliamentary, and select committee processes. Well-resourced Big Tobacco companies would be the only winners at the cost of New Zealand’s independent vape businesses, brands and retailers.

VTANZ has also asked the Government for specialist vape stores to be deemed essential businesses with growing examples of overseas countries allowing vape retailers to remain open on public health grounds and to stop people from returning to smoking.

“As clinicians, scientists, and researchers around the world are now emphasising, nicotine vaping is an essential tool for many, especially in times of added anxiety and stress. It’s also critical that people with pre-existing lung conditions or any respiratory weakness do not return to smoking at this time.

“With alcohol and tobacco universally viewed as essential products, the availability of considerably safer vaping products is more important than ever before. It would be terrible if our smoking rates started creeping up, given they’ve been at record-low levels,” says Jonathan Devery.

www.vtanz.org.nz

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