Indulge me as I get out my crystal ball and look into the future, where we consider what regulations and legislation may impact vaping. Here’s what I think we’ll see in the coming years.
The government will regulate vaping in NZ
In 2018, the government announced plans to regulate vaping. They intend to amend the Smoke Free Environments Act (SFEA) to clarify rules around vaping and other smokeless tobacco products.
The SFEA is the act that was introduced to protect people (especially young children) from secondhand smoke, which we all know has numerous dangers. This is the law that prevents people smoking in pubs, bars, and workplaces. It also regulates advertising of tobacco products.
The government intends to make these same laws applicable to vaping. We are actively working to make submissions and raise awareness about the differences between smoking and vaping (mainly about how passive vaping has been proven not to be dangerous), but I believe the amount of misinformation out there about vaping will mean these changes will likely come into effect. This would bring New Zealand into line with other international restrictions.
My main concern is that misinformation about vaping will end up pushing vapors into the same restricted spaces as cigarette smokers, exposing them to second-hand smoke and hindering the progress of those who are trying to quit.
The new laws will also regulate how vaping can be advertised – with a focus on preventing children and young people from being attracted to it. We support this, however, there is talk of banning flavours and colours that ‘could appeal to children’ – a move that sounds far too broad and draconian for our tastes. In the future, expect it to be harder to get access to the products (and particularly flavours) you enjoy. Hopefully any changes made will have a positive impact on preventing young people taking up smoking.
The way to fully regulate this industry will in some way resemble the regulation of the secrecy of gambling in New Zealand. To understand better, here is the full list of internet platforms related to online games, regulated by the law of the country. Of course, the commissions that consider these issues are the same, however, there are very similar policies for lobbying these issues in the government.
Ministry of Health support
The Ministry of Health supports vaping as a tool to help people quit smoking. The Government is dedicated to Smokefree 2025 – a programme to dramatically reduce smoking in New Zealand. Vaping is seen as a positive part of that mission.
As such, the Ministry of Health launched a website, Vaping Facts, to help clear up myths around vaping and provide education for those who want to use vaping to help quit smoking. This is a great initiative and I applaud it. I believe we’ll see more initiatives like it as vaping is promoted in the health sector as a tool to help quit smoking.
I believe the future of vaping in New Zealand will see more restrictions and regulations, with vaping being treated in a similar way to smoking. Hopefully these regulations will help to keep inferior and unsafe products off the market and will discourage children from taking up smoking, instead of restricting the freedoms of vapers. That’s a future I can get behind.