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Amended vaping law takes effect in New Zealand

The Smoke-free Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020, which the 52nd Parliament passed into law in August 2020, took effect on 11 November 2020 with several guidelines to be enforced over a 15-month period.

Under the law, e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products will remain available and accessible to some 200,000 vapers in New Zealand and to adult smokers who want to switch to less harmful alternatives as long as they follow the regulations and restrictions whose implementation will be phased until February 2022.

The Amendment Act specifically ensures that these products are not marketed or sold to people under the age of 18, and that these products are not used inside schools, offices, and other indoor areas used by the public.

Starting 11 November 2020, vaping is prohibited inside workplaces (with limited exemptions); schools, early childhood education and care centers; aircraft carrying passengers domestically for hire or reward on passenger; service vehicles such as buses, trains, taxis and rideshare services; booking areas, passenger queuing areas, passenger waiting rooms, and passenger lounges within any enclosed travel terminal; and any part of a casino, restaurant or licensed premises that is not an open area.

The law also restricts the marketing, advertising, and promotion of vaping products and will ban certain substances and flavours in the coming months.

From 11 May 2021, the sale of vaping products and smokeless tobacco products that contain coloring substances will be prohibited in New Zealand.  From 11 August 2021, general retailers can sell vaping products and smokeless tobacco products only if they are tobacco, mint or menthol-flavored.  Specialist vape retailers may continue to sell products of any flavor that is not expressly prohibited.

From 28 November 2021, vaping is prohibited in motor vehicles carrying children under the age of 18.

From 11 February 2022, only ‘notified’ vaping and smokeless tobacco products that meet product safety requirements will be available for purchase from retailers

Vaping groups, however, expressed concern that the restrictions on vaping flavors and the ban on advertising will discourage smokers from switching to these better alternatives.

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