The proposed Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill is a positive step forward but has room for improvement to fully match what Asthma and Respiratory Foundation would like to see.
Much of what ARFNZ wanted from vaping regulation, such as restricting sales to over 18s, prohibiting advertising of vaping products, and introducing labelling and safety standards, have been addressed in the proposed amendment.
See below for ARFNZ’s full comments on the proposed Bill, or read our press release here.
The most important part of the Bill makes it illegal to sell vaping products to people under the age of 18. While we do not believe this will stop the alarmingly high vaping uptake rates among young people, it legitimises these issues and takes an important step towards solving them. ARFNZ would like to see this enforced.
Advertising of vaping products, especially juice, has been a key concern. Prohibiting this will be of great help in reducing youth uptake, and ARFNZ fully supports this.
We are pleased to see smokefree areas also becoming vapefree areas. E-cigarettes and vaping devices contain fewer harmful chemicals than the smoke from traditional tobacco cigarettes, but are not harmless. Evidence suggests that second-hand aerosols (SHA) may worsen asthma in children or trigger some adult asthmatics into a flare-up. Many people also simply dislike being exposed to vaping as much as they do smoking.
Introducing labelling standards was a key goal for ARFNZ. Having a full list of ingredients, as well as mandatory addiction warnings on nicotine products, is vital to keeping people informed about what they are doing.
A robust system of testing and quality control must be implemented to ensure that vapes, mods, coils, juice, and all other associated products are safe for use and/or inhalation. Consumption standards should not apply, as eating something and breathing something can affect human health in extremely different ways.
A vaping product registered and cleared for safe use within a certain period into a centralised database, will allow experts to ascertain the safety and suitability of these products for the New Zealand market. Notification and registration similar to that used by the Web Assisted Notification of Devices (WAND) Database would be ideal. For medical devices to be legally supplied in New Zealand, they must be notified to the WAND database, and notification of medical device information to the WAND database is free and there are no on-going fees.
ARFNZ believes that the marketing of flavours is far more harmful than the flavours themselves. However, removing enticing flavours from easy-access dairies and solely locating them within specialist retailers should inconvenience no one but those who should not be vaping anyway, such as youth.
A central repository of speciality vaping outlets, as well as sales figures and locations, will be valuable in enforcing other regulations, as well as encouraging standards to be set by the vaping industry over what is and is not appropriate. It will also allow monitoring of the uptake for vaping products, and compare this to the (hopefully) downward trend of combustible cigarettes.
ARFNZ agrees that only specialist vaping stores should have names involving vaping.
Restricting access of minors to vaping stores is important to reduce youth access to a wide range of vaping products.
While recommendations and demonstrations should happen in vape stores only, the kind of advice given should focus not only on what the most suitable products are, but also on smoking cessation support. If these products are intended to help people quit smoking, there should be robust support systems in place to do this.
As the goal should always be to eventually quit vaping as well, and so as smoking structured support from health professionals. Resources such as Quitline should be supplied in speciality vape stores to encourage people to quit, and programmes around reducing nicotine levels, as we see in patches and gum methods, should be implemented and promoted.
The Foundation has offered to work with the vaping industry and the Ministry of Health to help create and inform this advice.
ARFNZ agrees that loyalty programs and promotions should only be allowed from registered vaping speciality outlets.
ARFNZ agrees that demonstrations should happen in specialist vape stores only.