It was in September 2019 that Jenny Salesa announced a full e-liquids flavour ban, only allowing menthol and tobacco flavoured e-liquid, to protect the children of Aotearoa from becoming addicted to nicotine. The following weeks presented an uproar of disturbed vapers, venders and professionals, all who understand the importance of flavoured e-liquid in many people’s journey to quit smoking.
As time went on, we saw many media platforms outlying the “Youth Vaping Epidemic”. Painting our industry as if this was all part of a grand plan, blaming youth targetted marketing and bubblegum e-liquids for the always increasing levels of youth vaping in New Zealand. This kind of misinformation has been a thorn in the side of the vaping industry for years, ever heard of Pop-Corn Lung?
And then it all stopped.
Auckland University released the results from their own study, cross-examining survey’s collected through the government-funded New Zealand Youth Tobacco Monitor (NZYTM), a collaboration between Action for Smokefree 2025 (ASH) and the Health Promotion Agency. The findings were enough to have every news outlet in New Zealand eating their own words.
Lead Author Associate Professor Dr Natalie Walker from the University of Auckland has been quoted: “Our findings are consistent with other national surveys and do not support the idea of a so-called youth vaping epidemic in Aotearoa New Zealand. Most importantly, our survey looks at daily use which is a far more reliable indicator of likely dependence on vaping, than weekly or monthly use. Despite increases in experimentation, it is encouraging that daily use remains low, especially for non-smokers”.
Walker says “In fact, we believe that e-cigarettes might be displacing smoking for young people. Concerns about youth vaping should be weighed against the possibility that e-cigarettes could decrease the risk of smoking initiation and support smoking youth to quit.”
Vaping and e-cigarettes still remain unregulated in New Zealand, despite all the media attention. Although we have been promised the first draft of the member’s bill to be presented to parliament today, currently nothing has been tabled.
In a number of interviews and press releases yesterday, Jenny Salesa has identified some key components to expect in the proposal:
Flavoured e-liquids will be restricted to speciality stores, with service stations, dairies etc only able to provide tobacco, mint and menthol flavours.
Restriction on maximum levels of nicotine available.
Vape free in all dedicated smoke-free areas.
Tighter regulations on safety for vaping devices, flavours and ingredients that will allow the Ministry of Health to recall, suspend and issue warnings about vaping products.
Prohibit all forms of advertising, sponsorship and promotion.
- Vaping products will be removed from the shelves, although this is unclear as to whether or not this will impact dedicated vaping retailers.
And while it has taken some time to bring these regulations to the table, Jenny Salesa has said that finding a balance in these regulations has been the main cause of the delay. We look forward to seeing what Jenny is bringing to the table and will keep you informed as more information is released.