Vapers not bothered by Govt plans

A selection of vaping products. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
A selection of vaping products. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Dunedin vapers seem unconcerned about a proposed ban on vaping in bars, restaurants and workplaces.

The ban is being proposed as part of the Government’s plans to regulate the product.

Plans to change the way vaping products are displayed in retail stores are  also under way in a bid to protect children from taking it up.

Vaping products, also known as electronic cigarettes, simulate smoking by heating a liquid to generate a vapour inhaled by the user, and carry fewer health risks than  smoking tobacco.

JCH Vapes co-owner Laura Russell, speaking at the George St store, supported a ban on vaping in restaurants and workplaces.The 24-year-old said she did not vape in those areas anyway, out of consideration for others.

"If it’s a no-smoking place, then I won’t vape."

Up the road at the Vaporium store in London St, another vaper said he had never seen anyone vape in a restaurant or inside a place of work, and he thought a ban was already in force. 

"I haven’t seen anyone actually do that.

"New Zealanders are polite people.

"I thought [the ban] was already in."

Down in Hanover St, Shosha vaporiser store assistant manager Sakshi Beniwal was also unperturbed by the proposed ban.

"I think banning it in restaurants is not going to be a big deal."

She did not believe the ban would affect sales.

Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa yesterday announced the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 (SFEA) would be amended next year.

Ms Salesa said the aim of the proposed regulations was to give smokers more confidence in the quality of vaping and smokeless tobacco products, while  protecting children and young people from the risks associated with them.

Although vaping was significantly less harmful than smoking it was not completely risk free, she said.

"That’s why we need to make it as safe as possible and protect young people from taking it up," she said.

Ms Salesa said the new regulations followed findings from the Ministry of Health’s public consultation in 2016 which showed overwhelming support for the continued prohibition of sales of vaping products to those aged under 18.

"The public will have a say on the legislative amendments proposed."

Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) chairman and professor in public health Dr Robert Beaglehole said in general he welcomed this announcement as it indicated the Government was taking the 2025 Smokefree goal more seriously.

"The trade off is encouraging smokers to use them, protecting children and not offending non-smokers."

Dr Beaglehole said he understood why the Government had chosen to ban vaping in places where smoking was already prohibited as people did not want vaping in their faces.

"But I still think we should be doing everything we can to encourage smokers to switch to vaping and anything that restricts that we need to seriously consider."

Managing director of NZ Vaping Alliance QJ Stachell, who had been lobbying the Government to regulate the industry for the last five years, said this announcement was a step in the right direction.

"Now we know there will be a minimum standard suppliers will have to hit and I think that will be good for the industry."

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