Vaping and smokeless tobacco products to be regulated

Plans to regulate vaping and smokeless tobacco products in New Zealand are being announced today by Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa.

 The Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 (SFEA) will be amended next year to give smokers more confidence in the quality of vaping and smokeless tobacco products, while also protecting children and young people from the risks associated with them.

 “We are supporting New Zealanders to be healthier by helping smokers switch to safer products, and at the same time protecting people who don’t smoke, especially young people,” says Jenny Salesa.

 “The proposed changes to the Smokefree Environments Act will put a stop to vaping and similar smokeless tobacco products in places such as bars, restaurants and workplaces – as we already do with cigarettes.

 “There will also be changes to the way vaping products are displayed in retail stores. This will be similar to retail advertising of tobacco products.

 “Vaping is a significantly less harmful alternative to smoking and it has been used as an effective tool to quit smoking.

 “However, it is not completely risk free and that’s why we need to make it as safe as possible and protect young people from taking it up. Vaping is also cheaper and this is important because people on low incomes have some of the highest smoking rates.

 “This approach reflects the findings from the Ministry of Health’s public consultation in 2016 which showed overwhelming support for the continued prohibition of sales of vaping products to under 18 year olds.

 "The public will have a say on the legislative amendments proposed. That opportunity will come next year when the select committee calls for submissions. The Ministry will also consult on implementation of the changes.

“We know that smoking rates are dropping and that’s really pleasing to see. In 2016/17, 13.8% (about 529,000) of adults were daily smokers. That’s down from 14.2% of adults in 2015/16 and 18.3% the previous year. Still, there are an estimated 5,000 smoking related deaths every year, and this is unacceptable.

 “The best thing smokers can do for their health and that of their whānau is to quit altogether but sometimes it’s tough and I understand how difficult it can be.

 “The Government is committed to improving health outcomes and the wellbeing of all New Zealanders. This is another step toward achieving a smoke-free country by 2025,” says Jenny Salesa.