Our current New Zealand government, as it stands, are pretty progressive in regards to vaping, by having shown an interest in assuring a fair regulatory approach that best accommodates future vaping legislation in NZ, and there’s even a minority of cohorts from tobacco control that acknowledge vaping’s beneficence… but we are also consciously mindful that come election time our hard fought submissions in helping motivate policy change could be eroded by a new party of less than empathic legislators?

In NZ, selling e-liquids containing nicotine is still technically defined as illegal (however it is legal to import your own supply of nicotine for personal use), but are readily available to consumers for sale at B&M and online vape shops across the country. This is a grey market area that is unenforceable to uphold by authorities especially as their intentions have become publicly clear now that they will legalise and regulate products containing nicotine in mid-2018 as per the Cabinet Social Policy Committee who have agreed in principle to nicotine in electronic liquid vapourisers (ELVs) being lawfully available for sale and supply in NZ.

With the tireless support and cooperation of vendors and advocates such as AVCA, VTANZ & VANZ whom have collectively defined an initiative to self-regulate vaping in NZ using AVCAs Addendum to Submission on “Consultation of Policy Options for the Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes”  http://bit.ly/2viGVh1  we have relentlessly pushed through submissions and emails to ministers of different parties to best implement safety and consumer-driven policies for vapers around the country as well as to help govt officials realise the potential of using vaping as an alternative THR tool. Furthermore the soon to be formed advent of the ministry of health’s new Technical Expert Advisory Group that will be made up of nominees having knowledge of the risks and benefits associated with the use of ELVs as well as an understanding of the e-liquid/device products market in New Zealand, the legislative framework, as well as a consumer perspective on the use of ELVs; this will serve to further cement a fair framework for policy, as the consultative process would now include true expertise around all the variables that vaping diversely consists of.

Because these initiatives are now being seen by the vaping community as being implemented in the near future, there has been no need or an emergence of a black market within the vape scene as in stark contrast to our counterparts in Australia, http://bit.ly/2ipObFW and because vendors and vape consumers share such a tight knit community through loyalty and support, as well as a growing network of thousands on the Facebook vape pages, any resemblance of criminality in regards to vaping that may suddenly arise is quickly quashed by vaping loyalists throughout the country… so we’d definitely be the polar opposite of this scenario ever happening in NZ http://bit.ly/2xbLVoY

However it would only take a few upsets in the election polls to force in a new govt where the changing of parties could lead to irreparable consequences if ever an uncompromising health minister changes the playing field in tobacco control and completely disengages consultation around vaping and following the Australian template of probitionism? We are nonetheless currently noticing a significant surge in black market tobacconists being established as a result of rising tobacco excise taxes, plus a spike in escalating violence and robberies toward shop keepers as cigarettes are becoming a lucrative commodity for the criminal elements http://bit.ly/2w2mW7e  – which is exactly why vaping needs to be left well alone to ensure that there’s a significantly healthier and a more affordably safer option that’s accessible to smokers if ever they need to transition… because the question needs to be asked if TC ever want to achieve their goal target of a smoke-free NZ by 2025, so in the interests of the public, vaping needs to be embraced and lauded for its effectiveness, not demonised.

In reference to an article recently published ‘the new oil rush’ http://bit.ly/2v8Lqyx, “is heat-not-burn (HnB) products becoming the dominant market changer against vaping in NZ?” Well AVCA believe that people offering up ‘harm minimising’ initiatives for smokers can appear in many guises – including BT, but if their intention was to atone for all those years of revenue gathering and carcinogenic harm caused upon smokers whilst on their products, then kudos for finally admitting culpability for their damage (or that they’ve sustained a significant downturn in smoking sales due to vaping uptake?).

Be that as it may, public do need to differentiate that vaping is classed as a consumer product here in NZ and HnB even though it’s promoted as being a potentially less harmful alternative to tobacco smoking, it would still be classed as a tobacco product, http://bit.ly/2w2JlBm whereas another product from BAT known as the Vype pen, is a full vape device and not a smokeless product that contains tobacco… PMI are doing their best to establish a foot hold on the market here with their innovative range of HnB products such as the IQOS, but without any veracity from an unbiased credible third party other than their own team of scientists, then MoH will hopefully never allow a product such as this to become aligned with vaping as a consumer product. http://bit.ly/2v4jOuA

“just remember in these times of uncertainty, try not allow ourselves to become complacent on the politics of vaping, and try to participate diligently around campaigning and educating the misinformed whilst remaining courteous so that vaping from the publics perception can be portrayed in a more positive light.”
Author

Nancy comes from a diverse administrative background that includes surgical research administration, teaching (primary and tertiary level), executive administration and community property management. For over 15 years she has been very active in community advocacy with youth, lower income folk needing advocacy and now, vaping advocacy. She brings a wealth of scientific, medical and research administrative/management knowledge with her to her role as CEO/Director at AVCA.