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Source: US Global Legal Monitor

(Mar. 12, 2020) On February 24, 2020, the New Zealand government introduced the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill into the Parliament. The government minister responsible for the Bill, Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa, stated that it “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.” Her press release explains that the Bill will

  • ban the sale of vaping products to under-18-year-olds
  • 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

Further information on the proposed approach in the Bill, which amends the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, is provided in its explanatory statement. For example, the Bill

  • introduces the concept of a regulated product to “incorporate the broader scope of products regulated under the Act” and “provide flexibility so that the amended Act can more readily incorporate reduced-harm products that may come along in future, including those which may not be anticipated at present”;
  • amends the Act “to prohibit vaping and the use of heated tobacco products in legislated smokefree areas (ie, indoor workplaces, early childhood centres, and schools)”;
  • “extends, to the extent applicable, the existing restrictions on the advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of tobacco products to all regulated products”;
  • recognizes that smokers need support and advice to switch to a less harmful product, and therefore “exempts vaping products from some of the provisions that apply to tobacco products”;
  • “enables specialist vape stores to be approved as such by the Director-General of Health”;
  • allows generic retailers to sell only the flavors set out in a new schedule to the Act (currently being tobacco, menthol, and mint), and allows approved specialist vape retailers to sell any flavor other than a prohibited flavor; and
  • “requires manufacturers and importers to notify a vaping or smokeless tobacco product to the Ministry of Health before marketing it and to certify that the product meets any applicable standards.”

A fact sheet published by the Ministry of Health sets out the current law applicable to vaping and vaping products and the changes proposed in the Bill. The Ministry of Health website also contains previous position statements on vaping and the application of existing laws, as well as materials produced for the cabinet.

According to Salesa, “[t]his is the most significant change to New Zealand’s smokefree laws since they were introduced 30 years ago.” Following its first reading, the Bill will be the subject of public consultation through a parliamentary select committee process.

MIL OSI USA News