Regulations to protect young people and non-smokers from the risks associated with vaping have been announced today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall.
The scope of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 was expanded in November, to regulate vaping and vaping products.
“This legislation is focused on a healthier future for Aotearoa. It strikes a balance between ensuring these products are not marketed or sold to young people, while ensuring vaping products are available for smokers who want to switch to a less harmful alternative,” Ayesha Verrall said.
“New regulations to achieve this cover a range of areas including vaping packaging, product safety, and the responsibilities of manufacturers and importers selling vaping products or smokeless tobacco products.
“To help reduce the attractiveness and appeal of vaping products to young people, we are banning the use of cartoons and toys on packaging. A health warning must appear on the front and back of packaging in English and te reo Māori, and safety messaging must also be displayed.
“From tomorrow, manufacturers and importers can start to notify the Ministry of Health of their intention to sell vaping and smokeless tobacco products. From February 2022, they must have notified the Ministry before these products can be sold in New Zealand. These products must meet safety requirements before they can be notified,” Ayesha Verrall said.
The regulations will be phased in from 11 August 2021, along with previously announced action including banning generic retailers such as dairies, service stations and supermarkets from selling vaping products in flavours other than tobacco, mint and menthol. Only specialist vape retailers will be able to sell other flavours. From 28 November, vaping and smoking in motor vehicles carrying children will be banned.
“As well as ongoing education, enforcement will be key to the success of the regulations. Smokefree Enforcement Officers have powers including to enter and inspect premises, inspect advertising and vaping products for sale, and take air samples, photographs or other recordings.
“There will be a focus on ensuring protections for children and young people are effectively implemented and enforced.
“The new regulations will reduce harm, are risk-proportionate, cost effective and workable for the people they affect.
“Finalising the vaping regulations with input from New Zealanders represents an exciting and significant step towards our Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 goal. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in this country. While not without risks, vaping has the potential to help people quit smoking as a less harmful alternative,” Ayesha Verrall said.
A full overview and timeline of the final vaping regulations are available on the Ministry of Health website.
Manufacturers and importers must make sure packaging conforms to regulations by 11 May 2022. From 11 August 2022, general retailers and Specialist Vape Retailers must only sell regulated products that conform to packaging regulations.
More than 2,500 people and organisations had their say about the proposed regulations through a public consultation. Submissions were received from vapers and smokers, health sector organisations, the general public, the vaping and tobacco industry, and retailers. Focus groups run by Hāpai te Hauora and Tala Pasifika resulted in 919 submissions from Māori and Pacific peoples.