From today, only vape products that have been registered with the Ministry of Health can be sold in New Zealand.
Since August last year, vape manufacturers could register their products with the Ministry, and were required to provide an ingredients list, information on the amount of each ingredient and the nicotine strength.
There are 30 ingredients that vapes cannot contain.
27 percent of New Zealand teenagers vape, according to research by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand (ARFNZ).
Three-quarters of them are vaping daily or multiple times a day, with the majority using a high nicotine dose.
The New Zealand Health Survey found 6.2 percent of adults vape daily, an increase from 2018 when only 2.6 percent did.
“These statistics are really worrying and show the scale of the problem among our young people,” the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation report says.
A recent study by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ERS) found harmful bacteria and chemicals when they analysed the contents of 150 vape products.
It also found over half of the vape products sampled contained nicotine levels more than 10 percent higher or lower than what was stated on the packaging. One sample had 63 percent more nicotine than was labelled.
Vape and e-cigarette supplier Shosha NZ says certain ingredients like sucrose have been banned from vapes, as there is not enough evidence it’s safe to use.
“Colouring substances are included too, and there are a few ingredients that must not exceed the specified allowed levels,” says Shosha operations manager Nabhik Gupta.
Gupta supports the regulation.
“This will allow the Ministry to take a range of steps including declaring maximum limits for substances within a product, prohibiting certain ingredients and even issuing public warnings about a product, all at a granular level,'' says Gupta.
“What this means in practice is that if a specific product or ingredient is identified as posing a risk to public health, it can be removed from shelves across the country rapidly.”
ARFNZ welcomes the new regulations, but says there should be more rules around vaping for younger people.
“Our report on Vaping in New Zealand Youth recommends limiting nicotine levels to 20 mg, raising the legal age to purchase vapes to 21, and preventing the sale of vapes within a 1km radius of schools.”
Currently the legal age is 18.
In 2021, 71 people had vape-related injuries in New Zealand, according to ACC. These ranged from burns, infections, inhalation and dental issues.
In December 2021, the government announced it will gradually increase the age of sale for cigarettes, meaning teenagers who are 14 years old in 2023 will never legally be able to buy cigarettes.
Key vaping regulation dates:
11 November 2020:
- Vaping was banned from workplaces, schools, early childhood education and care centres.
- The sale of vaping products to people under 18 was prohibited
11 May 2021
- Schools needed to display no “smoking or vaping” notices
- Vape products banned from containing colouring substances
11 August 2021
- Flavoured vape products must not be sold at general retailers such as supermarkets and dairies.
11 September 2021
- Retailers must display R18 signs at point of sale.
28 November 2021
- Vaping and smoking while a child is in a vehicle is prohibited.
11 May 2022
- Vape packaging will need to have health warnings in English and Māori on both sides, and safety information will be required to be displayed. No cartoons or toys can be on packaging.
1 January 2023
- Manufacturers, importers and specialist vape retailers must disclose annual reports and returns.