New Zealand

Retailers warn vape regulations will see a return to smoking

/New Zealand/ The government is cracking down on who can sell what vape products in the hopes of stopping young people from picking up a nicotine habit.

But retailers warn this will have a bigger impact on current smokers trying to quit.

Proposed regulations would limit general retailers to selling tobacco, menthol or mint flavoured vape products. Anyone wanting a vape flavour unrelated to cigarettes would need to go to a specialised vape store.

Dairy owners from Feilding and Palmerston North agreed that removing vape juices from their shelves would not hurt their bottom line, as none believed vaping was as common a habit as cigarette smoking.

Makino Dairy store manager Gary Singh said the removal would see those trying to quit smoking, return to traditional cigarettes.

“The customers are the ones who [would be] worse off,” he said.

Specialist sellers like Shosha were located across the Manawatū, including Palmerston North, Feilding and Levin.

Manager Mattias Stewart said although shops like his benefited from the regulations, it ultimately did more harm than good.

He said smokers often moved to vaping in order to cut back and eventually remove their nicotine intake.

“From my experience, it’s much easier to quit with something that doesn’t taste like cigarettes, because you’re no longer associating the cigarette flavour with the nicotine.

“It’s going to make it harder for people to quit if they don’t know where to go, or they’re limited to tobacco flavour.”

Stewart was also concerned the proposed regulations could set a precedent for further limitations on vaping.

Vape facts, a website associated with the Ministry of Health, acknowledged vaping was less harmful than smoking cigarettes.

Although vaping was still harmful on its own, the website credits it as a way for current smokers to quit.

Last year the Government passed the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Act, which laid out a 15-month timeline to change how vape products could be sold, displayed, promoted or packaged.

The act required additional regulations to be passed, such as whether non-specialist vape retailers could sell certain flavoured vape juice. Businesses whose vape products made up 60 per cent or more of their overall sales, were eligible for specialist vape retailer status, allowing them to sell any flavour.

Amendments to the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Act will take effect on August 11.

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