New regulations that come into force in New Zealand tomorrow will oblige retailers, including vape stores, to display signs at each point-of-sale warning customers that e-cigarette products are not for sale to minors.
The R18 signs, required by the Smoke-free Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill, must make it clear in both English and Māori that the minimum purchasing age is 18.
Under the act, adopted in August last year, retailers can also display approved product availability and harm reduction notices.
These new regulations follow those that came into effect last month restricting the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes to specialist stores, while general retailers can sell only mint, menthol and tobacco flavoured vaping products.
A retailer at least 60% of whose total sales come from vaping products can apply to the Ministry of Health Vaping Regulatory Authority to be registered as a Specialist Vape Retailer (SVR). This permit is only available to bricks-and-mortar shops and not to online-only businesses.
Further measures lie ahead
Until 10th November, retailers with at least one physical store receiving at least 50% of its total sales from vaping products can apply to operate as a transitional specialist vape retailer (TSVR).
Hoopers Vapour, a shop that applied for TSVR status, told ECigIntelligence the legislation had achieved the desired effect of reducing the number of vape companies operating and ensuring that those still in business follow the rules and provide accurate health advice.
“These new measures are reducing the availability of certain flavours from general shops and restricting it to certain locations, in a move to make e-cigarettes less appealing to young people,” they added.
When the transitional period ends in November, the government will revert the permit and the businesses will again become classed as general retailers if they do not meet the criteria to become an SVR.
Other measures are due to come into force in New Zealand in the coming months. Vaping and smoking in cars with children will be banned from November, while from February 2022 only vaping products that have been notified and meet product safety requirements will be legally available.
What This Means: These latest measures represent another critical step towards New Zealand’s Smoke-Free 2025 goal, which aims to reduce smoking prevalence to minimum levels.
– Antonia di Lorenzo ECigIntelligence staff
Photo: Lawrence Murray