28 Feb 2021

Vape shop display windows allowed under Smokefree rules

2:11 pm on 28 February 2021

Vaping shop window displays are "not problematic" and would be allowed to continue under proposed new rules.

Shop window of vape store

File photo. Photo: 123RF

Consultation closes in a fortnight's time on the regulations which will implement Smokefree legislation.

Earlier submitters to the health committee which considered the legislation asked for vaping products not to be visible from outside vape shops, and to control displays of vapes in other retail shops to protect young people and other non-smokers.

In its proposal, the Ministry of Health said it "considers that existing displays of vaping products within retail premises or on websites (which are now required to be R18) are not problematic. In forming this view, we have taken account of the need to balance protections for children and young people with policies to make it easier for smokers to switch to a less harmful alternative."

It says it does not propose to make all of the regulations that are possible under the Act.

It wants submissions on issues such as safety requirements, the rules on promotions of vaping products and the fees that companies will pay.

It proposes that the wording of health warnings on vape products should say that they 'contain nicotine which is a highly addictive substance.'

Smokeless tobacco products would carry a warning that 'this product damages your health and is addictive'.

The Ministry of Health said in an earlier position statement that vapes have the potential to help the Government reach its Smokefree 2025 goal.

"Expert opinion is that vaping products are much less harmful than smoking tobacco but not completely harmless," it said. "A range of toxicants have been found in vapour including some cancer causing agents but, in general, at levels much lower than found in cigarette smoke or at levels that are unlikely to cause harm. Smokers switching to vaping products are highly likely to reduce the risks to their health and those around them."

If the proposals are adopted, vape shops could also display signs saying 'If you are a smoker, switching completely to vaping is a much less harmful option'.

When the rules are implemented in August, general retailers - non-specialist vape shops - will only be able to sell tobacco, mint or menthol flavours of vaping products and smokeless tobacco products.

Fom the end of November, vaping and smoking will be banned in vehicles carrying children.

Parts of the legislation have already come into force, including an advertising ban and outlawing sales to under-18s.

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