Currently all nicotine-containing e-cigs and e-liquids are considered to be medical products in New Zealand, and as none have been granted a medical licence, selling them is illegal through regular retail channels.
However, a limited supply may be bought online from overseas for personal use. Nicotine-free e-liquids and non-nicotine-containing components such as hardware can also be sold by retailers.
NZVapor.com, the company behind the radio advertisement, produces, packages and distributes its e-cigarette products from the U.S. (the e-liquids) and China (the hardware), and says that it is fully compliant with New Zealand’s laws governing e-cigarette importation and sales.
It hopes that the new ad will expand its customer base by reaching older smokers who might not rely on the Internet for information about e-cigarettes.
“With these ads we are able to reach out to a whole new client base that until now has been fairly inaccessible,” said NZVapor.com managing director Q.J. Satchell. “I hope that this step helps to break down a few walls for the industry. We have worked very hard to ensure that our business is compliant with NZ laws, and to be able to tell people that now is a huge deal for us.”
The 35-second radio clip is being broadcast on an Auckland radio station between 11th and 15th May. It positions e-cigarettes and vapour as a “cleaner” alternative to smoking and focuses particularly on the ability to vape in areas where smoking is prohibited. “Completely smoke-free and able to be vaped where smoking is not allowed,” runs the tagline.
The advertisement was pre-approved by New Zealand’s Broadcasting Standards Authority.
What This Means: The New Zealand government allowing an e-cigarette ad to be broadcast – albeit only on local radio – does seem to signal a potential softening. However, this does not mean that legislation is going to change.
It’s more likely that the government will continue to impose the same medical device licensing and personal-use importation rules, but might relax its attitudes on related areas – such as advertising – in order to enable the e-cigarette market to grow.
– Freddie Dawson ECigIntelligence staff