The Vaping Industry Association of New Zealand (VIANZ), which is in the process of formation has made a submission on the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill.
“We acknowledge that the vaping industry, while regulated, also operates under ‘social licence’. In essence, society needs to have confidence that the industry will behave responsibly,” says Lesley Clarke, Establishment Executive Director.
“We fully support the Government’s goal to reduce smoking rates to less than 5% across all population by 2025, and the objectives of this Bill.
As our written submission, says, vaping is the most disruptive threat to smoking to date. The 2020 regulation of vaping corresponded with the largest fall in smoking prevalence ever recorded in the NZ Health Survey.
This is evidence that New Zealand’s ‘right touch’ regulatory approach to vaping works and must be maintained to support 450,000 current smokers towards sustain Smokefree Aotearoa 2025.
As interventions to reduce smoked tobacco products come into effect, the Government must ensure equitable access to safer alternatives to support the wellbeing of dependent smokers and mitigate unintended consequences of reduced supply.
Suggestions to enhance the Bill and improve outcomes
1. Enable General Vape Retailers (GVP) to actively market notifiable products to smokers.
For example, inserting a new clause (f) into Subsection 27(3) relaxing ‘prohibited communications’ when regulated (smoking) products are requested. Use the 8,000 outlets to maximum effect.
2. Give the Director-General discretion to allow a GVP to sell an extended flavour portfolio in places where SVRs are uneconomic.
There is a need to support smokers in areas of low population density but high smoking prevalence so they have equitable access to cessation services and less harmful alternatives to continued smoking.
In the Bill, individual Specialist Vape Retailers sales data may become public and that is a concern, particularly given crime concerns. We wish to see the Committee recommend such data is covered by the Official Information Act.
Also, the scope of public bodies who may access databases is vast. The State has a responsibility to treat both personal and commercial information with care. It is good regulatory practice limit access to organisations that have clear and relevant purpose.
“The final component of the regulations that apply to vaping only took effect this August. Vaping aspects are, at this time, a work in progress and need to be allowed to bed down and fully operationalised,” Ms Clarke said.