You may not have known this, but e-cigarettes were illegal in New Zealand, until very recently.
Despite New Zealand overturning their e-cigarette coo, other countries haven’t been as lucky. Brazil, Singapore, Seychelles, and even Canada are among the more popular countries that still refuse to sell or distribute them.
It appears that a fair few countries around the world are still in debate over what to do about the ever-progressing e-cigarette industry. Most are content with regulation, though there are some that take things much further, i.e., banning the product entirely, both from usage and distribution.
Surprisingly, this has been going on for quite some time, though you would be forgiven for not knowing this if you didn’t live or were familiar with these countries’ strict e-cigarette laws. E-cigarettes are being accepted in more and more countries as the months and years go by, though there remain some that are adamant that their position on banning e-cigarettes entirely won’t change.
This leads us onto New Zealand’s recent acceptance of e-cigarettes, which in itself raises many questions, why have they legalised them, and why were they illegal before?
New Zealand Legalises E-cigarettes
This was a huge win for the e-cigarette industry, hitting an area the size of New Zealand is sure to make their stocks rise. Following this, the products will not be sold in plain packaging, and the hefty taxes won’t be applied either. Nicky Wagner (Associate Health Minister) claimed that the decision was made even though scientific evidence on e-cigarette safety was still developing.
Wagner even tried vaping despite the fact she doesn’t smoke! She further suggested that “anyone who smokes here has [to have a go] at vaping, too.”
The New Rule
The new rules for e-cigarette distribution and usage within New Zealand follows the same rules and principles of everywhere else. The user must be at least 18 years of age, and they have banned vaping in indoor areas where smoking is prohibited. There has also been a restriction of e-cigarette advertising.
Wagner stated "This ensures cigarette smokers have access to a lower-risk alternative while we continue to discourage people from smoking or vaping in the first place." The emphasis on no tax e-cigarettes was a key factor in regards to New Zealand legalising e-cigarettes. Why? Because when a smoker goes into a corner shop/tobacco seller, they will see cigarettes priced very highly, whereas the e-cigarettes – thanks to the no tax concept – will be far cheaper, therefore encouraging people to opt for the cheaper and ‘healthier’ option.
Wagner did address the concerns of e-cigarette ‘safety’, claiming that they would still be seeking evidence concerning long-term health risks, but due to compelling evidence that e-cigarettes are the safer alternative to smoking, the ban was lifted.
Wagner stated: "I think the important thing is we want the health outcomes. Whoever sells them...I don't think is really important."
The law change did require an amendment to be made to the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 and this is likely to happen sometime in 2018.
People Embrace the New Change
A British tourist by the name of Sam Niechcial has stated that vaping does him “a lot less harm [,] my skin’s better, I feel better about myself, so I think it makes sense for the government to legalise it.” He went onto say that he was impressed that New Zealand if finally catching up with the UK, where the vaping market is thriving.
Similarly, public health Professor, Nick Wilson, thinks that the government’s decision to clear up any uncertainties and ambiguities around vaping is a great idea. Though, did go onto say that it was “reckless” to allow nicotine products to be sold in supermarkets, general stores and petrol stations.
What’s the Main Reason Behind Legalising E-cigarettes?
The crux of the decision boils down to the fact that Wagner believes that e-cigarettes are by far, the lesser of two evils. Wagner also seeks to announce plans to set up a new regime that will be able to assess and approve products that are marketed as less harmful alternatives to smoking tobacco.
What are your opinions on banning e-cigarettes? Do you think they should be legalised everywhere? Let me know in the comments below!