Vaping e-liquids containing nicotine is now legal in New Zealand, as health experts and lawmakers believe that there are health benefits to using e-cigarettes to quit smoking. Despite this, and as debate rumbles on, vaping nicotine in Australia remains illegal.
Likely to pile pressure on Australian lawmakers, vaping remained banned in Australia following the conclusion of a year-long inquiry in parliament which failed to agree on the legalisation of e-cigs.
Currently, Australian vapers that want to buy nicotine e-liquid will need a prescription from a specialist chemist and could be fined and prosecuted if they have attained their vape supplies via other means.
As the UK, US and now New Zealand back e-cigs to help smokers quit, it seems the Australian government is still standing firm, despite a lot of support.
A vape-supporting senator took matters into his own hands in February and boarded the Vape Force One van to protest the Government’s stance on the matter.
“Essentially, New Zealand is recognising that … vaping devices which heat a nicotine solution without smoke or combustion are substantially safer than products which burn tobacco, like cigarettes,” said Colin Mendelsohn, University of NSW Professor of the move by New Zealand, which has been labelled a “victory for common sense” by some.
“Most of the harm from combustible tobacco is caused by the 7000 chemicals produced by the burning process and these are mostly absent from vapour.”
“It is unethical and unscientific to ban a much safer product that could help many thousands of smokers to quit a deadly addiction. It would be a mistake to delay these products for another 20 to 30 years. Too many lives are at stake.”
It will now be legal to for vapers to buy nicotine-containing e-liquid in New Zealand as lawmakers believe e-cigs are less harmful than cigarettes and help smokers quit, also Health Minister Nicky Wagner said that further e-cig research is required.
“There’s a general consensus that vaping is much less harmful than smoking,” said Wagner. “The Government is taking a cautious approach by aligning the regulations around vaping with those for cigarettes,” she said.
“This ensures cigarette smokers have access to a lower-risk alternative while we continue to discourage people from smoking or vaping in the first place.”
“This is an opportunity to see if restricted access to e-cigarettes and e-liquid can help lower our smoking rates, reduce harm and save lives.”
“The Government is strongly committed to achieving our goal of a smoke-free New Zealand by 2025.”