The Ministry of Health is consulting on policy options for the regulation of e-cigarettes, including possible amendments to the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 and the Medicines Act 1981.
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are a relatively new and evolving product. The risks and benefits of e-cigarettes are uncertain. There is some evidence that e-cigarettes could potentially play a significant role in the reduction of harm for smokers. However, there is very little evidence of the impact of e-cigarettes on the non-smoking population. Similarly, the impact of e-cigarettes on the goal of a SmokeFree Aotearoa NZ by 2025 is uncertain. All of the four transnational tobacco companies now own at least one electronic cigarette product and, given their ethical record in promoting tobacco despite evidence of harm, we suggest a cautious approach is needed to this product, which is marketed in an array of colours, flavours and styles, designed to appeal to young people.
Currently, the sale and supply of nicotine e-cigarettes are prohibited, while smoked tobacco can be sold legally. The legal status of e-cigarettes can be confusing and the law is not routinely enforced. This consultation aims to clarify the legal position.
The consultation document can be downloaded at: http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/policy-options-regulation-electronic-cigarettes-consultation-document
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