New Zealand’s Tobacco Control Bill Should be Modelled Say THR Advocates 

Two years after New Zealand’s Tobacco Bill was passed, it has proven to be an effective legislation, however more needs to be done to tackle any wayward retailers, says Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA) co-founder, Nancy Loucas.

“New Zealand’s legislation and regulations are by no means perfect, but they continue to serve as a model for other countries keen to combat tobacco. Now is not the time to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” said Loucas. Her comments come nearly two years after the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 went into effect.

She said that the act aims to strike a balance between ensuring vaping products are available for smokers who want to switch to safer alternatives and ensuring these products aren’t marketed or sold to minors. However she adds, there is more that can be done to prevent ill-intentioned retailers from illicitly selling the products to minors.

“If youth vaping is a problem, the solution is not changing the law, as it’s already more than adequate. Solutions lie with parental responsibility and greater enforcement by the regulator. Heavy sanctions can be applied to those caught selling to minors. Any rogue retailers now need to face the consequences, as they’re making good legislation look bad,” said Loucas.

Australia is urged to take note
She reiterated that New Zealand’s tobacco control strategy should be modelled, especially by neighbouring Australia. “New Zealand is playing it straight with the public and subsequently it is on track to achieve Smokefree 2025 – where five percent or fewer smoke. In contrast, Australia’s retail ban of safer nicotine products and its publicly funded scaremongering, has ensured its smoking rate has barely budged in recent years,” she says.

Meanwhile, parliament’s health select committee is due to report back on the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill by December 1st. “Governments, politicians, and officials from all around the world continue to study what New Zealand has done to halve its smoking rate and put smokefree in its sights. Staying the course with its THR approach is how New Zealand will crush tobacco and save thousands of lives every year,” she concluded.