Are e-cigarettes illegal?
I was walking along Lambton Quay a couple of nights ago and in front of me was a guy who was smoking.
I moved hastily to get out of his wake to avoid inhaling his second hand smoke and as I did this, I caught a whiff of it. It smelt delicious. It smelt like strawberries.
That's when I realised it was an e-cigarette and he wasn't smoking, he was vaping.
Then this morning, I heard David Seymour calling for e-cigarettes to be legalised.
Ummmm what? They're illegal? Surely not. After a bit of probing around, I realised the ACT leader was mostly right.
E-cigarettes are electronic devices mimicking cigarettes but instead of tobacco, they contain a liquid canister that vapourises when the user inhales.
No e-cigarette brands have been authorised by the Ministry of Health as a method to quit smoking, meaning they cannot be marketed as such.
There are no regulations or productions standards for e-cigarettes.
The Ministry of Health says there’s not enough research-based evidence yet to classify them a smoking cessation option + its long term effects aren’t known.
The rules around e-cigarettes:
It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes that contain nicotine.
It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes if you advertise them as helping smokers quit (unless they are approved by Medsafe, but none have been)
You cannot sell e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.
It is legal to import nicotine-containing e-cigarettes if they are for your personal use only.
Nicotine-free e-cigarettes can be sold freely in New Zealand.
- You can use an e-cigarette in a non-smoking area