Otago Daily Times
Smokefree leader praises vape laws
NEW laws concerning vaping now in force are being welcomed by University of Otago academics.
Yesterday, it became illegal to sell vapes to under18s and advertising and sponsorship of vaping products have been banned altogether.
Vaping was also banned in legislated smokefree areas, and certain flavours will be phased out, except at specialist retailers, over the next 15 months.
University of Otago professor Janet Hoek, cochairwoman of the Aspire 2025 research centre working to identify and evaluate measures to achieve the Government’s Smokefree 2025 goal, said the legislation would ensure people who smoked but wished to switch to a less harmful option could access products.
Extending smokefree areas, such as schools, workplaces and public transport, to include vaping would provide much needed clarity and protect nonusers, Prof Hoek said.
‘‘Reducing young people’s exposure to vaping is important in shifting perceptions of vaping as an accepted recreational practice and reframing it as a tool that could help people who smoke to switch to a less harmful option.’’
Restricting the full range of flavoured vaping products to specialist R18 stores struck a good balance, she said.
‘‘The act enables people who smoke to access varied flavours from specialist stores while minimising children’s access to flavours known to be popular among young people.’’
She said measures no longer allowing advertising and sponsorship were particularly important components of the new legislation.
Otago Secondary Principals’ Association president Linda Miller said the changes were very good news.
‘‘It will give schools more teeth when it comes to pupils vaping . . . it signals clearly the harms caused by vaping.’’
Vapourium business development manager Cody Peneamene said it was pleased to see legislation come in.
‘‘We’ve been waiting six or seven years for something like this . . . It completely fits with our harm reduction efforts.’’
Nicky’s Tobacco Shop owner Graham Murphie said it was encouraging the law acknowledged vaping was less harmful than smoking, and helped some smokers to quit.
Restricting flavours to R18 and in specialist stores contradicted this, Mr Murphie said.
‘‘It’s a good solid piece of legislation by foundation, it does however need some tweaking to enable adult smokers to purchase flavours in traditional ways that will keep them off tobacco.’’ — Additional reporting RNZ