24 Sep 2022

Dairy owners hit out at government over vape sales restrictions

7:22 pm on 24 September 2022
Close-up of a man vaping an electronic cigarette

File photo. Photo: 123RF

Dairy owners are accusing the government of destroying thousands of small businesses with restrictions on vaping products.

Sunny Kaushal from the Dairy and Business Owners Group said thousands of dairies and service station could help to deliver the Smokefree 2025 policy by promoting and encouraging smokers into vaping and smokeless tobacco.

But he said they couldn't actively sell vapes, even when a customer asks for a packet of cigarettes.

"Destroying thousands of small businesses in favour of gangs makes no sense when dairies are the best way to achieve Smokefree 2025," he said.

He said that tobacco was also being illegally sold on Facebook.

"I tried to table illegal tobacco given to me via Facebook for $10. If legally sold, it should cost over $70," he said.

"We told the Ministry of Health about Facebook Marketplace last year in a submission. No one called us. Not even an academic."

Kaushal also wanted the new licensing system for tobacco retailers to start in 2025, rather than at the end of this year.

"Give us a chance to save dairies. With 2025 as a hard date and freedoms to actively market vapes to 450,000 current smokers, we'll deliver Smokefree 2025. This Bill will as it stands does the opposite," he said.

Under the system, only five to 10 percent of the current retailers will be approved to sell tobacco.

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