Sales of vaping products, including a vaporizer starter kit and e-liquid products from providers like EasyPuff, will become legal in New Zealand after the government announced a plan to permit such transactions.

Stores may be able to offer e-cigarettes with nicotine liquid around late 2018, as the country aims to be smoke-free by 2025. The current law permits the imports of e-cigarettes for personal use but bans any sale or supply of products.

Electric Smoke

Vaping products elicit a perception that it is less harmful than smoking tobacco, despite lack of evidence on the matter, according to New Zealand Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner. It took a relatively short time before the Ministry of Health decided to support vaping as the “lesser evil.” In 2016, the ministry said that there was no sufficient proof that e-cigarettes help people to quit using tobacco.

Regulations on vaping would be aligned with the existing law on traditional nicotine sticks. These policies would include the restriction of sales to people below 18 years old and banning the use of e-cigarettes in public areas. Advertising has long been prohibited for such products and the planned legalisation would ensure that it remains that way.

Lesser Evil

Wagner said that additional taxes would not be imposed on e-cigarettes, unlike their conventional counterparts. This would help the government in convincing nicotine smokers to give up the vice by flaunting high cigarette prices.

An amendment to the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 would pave the way to legalise the sale of e-cigarettes. The planned legalisation would provide smokers with “a lower-risk alternative,” while the government discourages them to smoke at all, according to Wagner.

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The planned legalisation of e-cigarettes would be a start for tobacco users, especially chronic smokers, to have a less harmful alternative before they try to kick the habit for good.