New Zealand Ministry of Health endorses vaping and 'free samples'
In an effort to promote a smoke-free New Zealand by 2025, the Ministry of Health is officially endorsing vaping and electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool. Officials claim that e-cigs are significantly less harmful than combustible tobacco and can vastly improve public health, but vaping should be confined to regular smokers. The announcement goes on to state several supporting arguments for the benefits of switching to electronic cigarettes, including the following key messages.
- Quitting smoking is the best thing that smokers can do to improve their overall health.
- Promoting a switch to vaping by current daily smokers can help New Zealand achieve its smoke-free goal by 2025.
- There is “no international evidence” that vaping is causing a rise in smoking rates, in teens or adults. In fact, evidence suggests that e-cigs may be contributing to significant declines.
- Even though electronic cigarettes are not 100% harm-free, vaping carries much less health risks that combustible tobacco.
- E-cigs should be reserved for use by current smokers. They should not be promoted for use by never-smokers.
- Stop smoking organizations should now begin promoting e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool while supporting those people currently making the switch rather than chastising them.
- For smokers who have not been successful using other nicotine replacement therapies or smoking cessation methods, stop smoking organizations should offer electronic cigarettes as another viable option.
- When e-cigs are used as intended, the risks of nicotine poisoning are essentially non-existent. However, child-proof packaging on all related products is encouraged.
- The Ministry of Health warns consumers to purchase their vaping products from “a reputable source like specialist retailers” to ensure the highest possible safety standards.
In the Ministry of Health press release of October 11, 2017, officials also make clear that the sales of nicotine-infused vaping products is currently illegal in New Zealand, but Ministry officials hope to change that very shortly. Presently, vapers can only buy zero-nicotine products, and officials also suggest that the primary goal of switching to vaping is to quit smoking entirely.
New Zealand plans to legalize vaping by mid-2018, including free samples
According to the press release, New Zealand is hoping to pass legislation that will legalize nicotine-enhanced vaping nationwide. The bill must first be approved by Parliament, but Ministry officials are hopefully optimistic that it will be passed by as early as mid-2018.
The proposed legislation will prohibit the sales of e-cigs and vaping products to minors, restrict sales via vending machines, and allow establishments to promote e-cig products through creative marketing and other promotions. However, advertising on television, radio, and billboards will be highly restricted, and an emphasis on product safety requirements will be paramount.
One of the more interesting proposals of the new bill allows for retailers to offer free samples, “loyalty rewards” programs, and other discounts to potential consumers. In the United States, free sampling is prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of the controversial FDA deeming regulations.