The Associate Minister of Health’s announcement on regulating and legislating vaping finally gives some direction to retailers and users, but its regulations may go too far and reduce the availability of vaping products for smokers, National list MP Nicky Wagner says.
“It’s good to finally see some direction from the Minister on vaping regulations, because we need some certainty and clarity.
“However, Ms Salesa’s proposed regulations are quite restrictive and similar to those used currently on smoking tobacco. These are different products and should not be treated the same.
“This is why I have a Bill in the Members’ Ballot which will create specific regulations around vaping, which has previously been a grey area. Regulations that are included cover the age of purchase and advertising, and prohibiting vaping in smokefree areas.
“Vaping and electronic cigarettes are not a cure all, but estimates show they are 95 per cent less harmful than ordinary cigarettes. This means they can be an alternative for bridging the gap between a long-term habit and quitting altogether.
“Regulations should be light-touch, not excessive to recognise the many vaping retailers who have operated in a self-regulated and responsible way for some years now.
“Many of these retailers are small businesses and excessive regulation may put too great a burden on them, resulting in reduced availability of vaping products for smokers.
“We must be sure that the Minister’s regulations do not say that they are providing an alternative for smokers while inadvertently reducing availability and supply of the very alternative they promote.
“So I will look over the proposed regulations in more detail and I remain committed to working with the Minister to provide smokers with vaping as a clear alternative to smoking.
“The goal must be to have legislation to give certainty on these products and that is still months, even years away. We need action now if we are going to achieve Smoke Free 2025. My Smoke-free Environments (Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes) Amendment Bill is available and ready to go and I am happy to pass it over to the Associate Minister.