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Government introduces Vaping Bill, bans sales to under 18-year-olds

The Government has today announced its proposed vaping regulations, which will ban under 18-year-olds from buying vaping products.

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The proposed law includes banning the sale of vaping products to under 18s. Source: 1 NEWS

However, the Government has moved away from prohibiting flavours despite earlier promises. 

Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa appeared on TVNZ1's Q+A with Jack Tame this morning, saying the legislation ensured they regulated the whole vaping industry. 

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Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa talks about the new bill on Q+A with Jack Tame on February 23, 2020. Source: Q+A

When asked why vaping could not be made prescription only, Ms Salesa said the focus was on public health, "as well to ensure we protect our kids from addictive substances".

"We also know 5000 people die from smoking related diseases in Aotearoa".

She said about 200,000 people vaped and it was successful for people to quit smoking.

"We want more people to give up smoking."

On not restricting the sale of flavours despite earlier pledges to impose a ban, Ms Salesa said it was about "striking that right balance", after consulting with vapers and health officials. 

Jonathan Devery of the Vaping Trade Association said the proposals were a "great first step" in regulating vaping. 

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Jonathan Devery did criticise the flavour restriction of just mint, menthol and tobacco. Source: Q+A

He said the issue with creating a prescription only vaping industry was that it would "create barriers".

"You're limiting accessibility to this product... which is going to have a negative impact on our smoking rates."

Mr Devery thought there should be a widening on the flavour restriction of just mint, menthol and tobacco flavours that outlets such as supermarkets and petrol stations can sell. 

There has been concern not only about the unknown long-term health effects of vaping, but also the promotion of vaping that could entice a new generation of young people into addiction.

In addition to banning sales to under 18-year-olds, the new law will also:

- Prohibit advertising of vaping products and smokeless tobacco

- Restrict the sale of flavoured vaping products and e-cigarettes to R-18 specialty stores

- Limit general retailers, including dairies and service stations, to only sell three flavours

- Introduce a product safety system – which enables the Ministry of health to recall, suspend and issue warnings about vaping products 

“Our Government has heard from a large number of smokers who say vaping is helpful for them to able to quit cancer-causing cigarettes. However we have also heard from parents, teachers and principals who want to make sure vaping companies are stopped from marketing to kids," Ms Salesa said.

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Ms Salesa talks about the new vaping bill on Q+A with Jack Tame on February 23, 2020. Source: Q+A

"The Bill aims to strike the right balance between making sure vaping is available for smokers who want to use it as a quit tool for cigarettes while ensuring vaping products are not marketed or sold to children and young people.

The Bill will be introduced to the House tomorrow.