The Smoke-free Environments (Vaping) Amendment Bill has yet to materialise, despite repeated Government promises of priority.
Many in the New Zealand health sector are concerned that the regulation discussion has fallen by the wayside and are urging the Government not to forget about the pressing need for these regulations.
Some of the key points required include:
- Legal age restriction set on the purchase of e-cigarettes and e-liquids (18+)
- Regulations around how vaping products are packaged and advertised, especially with regard to young people
- Regulation on flavours with removal of the sweet flavours
- All ingredients in e-liquids listed on packaging, with quantities
- Regulate the amount of nicotine to make them less addictive
- Robust testing of all ingredients to ensure they are safe for inhalation
- Smoke-free areas to also be vape-free
Letitia Harding, Chief Executive of Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, says that the continued lack of action is cause for concern.
"Every day, more people are taking up vaping, whether they used to smoke or not; nothing is stopping non-smokers or school aged teenagers from picking up an e-cigarette," says Letitia. "We know high school teens are using these devices, and we know that people struggle to self-regulate nicotine replacement. This cannot be kept on the backburner; we need these regulations now.
"Legislation should be in place to monitor and regulate the vaping industry, as is the case with other industries in New Zealand. This is what we, and the 700,000 New Zealanders living with respiratory conditions, want to see."
These sentiments are echoed by the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ), who also feel a strong need for real regulations around vaping and e-cigarettes.
"We want to see fair and reasonable restrictions set on e-cigarettes and e-liquid," says Dr Stuart Jones, Medical Director of the Foundation.
"If the vaping industry is truly committed to helping people quit smoking, as they claim to be, then they should be just as keen for regulation, safety standards, and appropriate smoking cessation training to come into place."
"We are not saying a complete ban on these products; ultimately if people decide to try vaping to quit smoking then we support that, but it has to be in conjunction with smoking cessation support services. Remember our goal is to protect respiratory health. We just want people fully informed and old enough, to make that decision for themselves."