Government in e-cigarette push

Many smokers have credited e-cigarettes with helping them to quit the habit
Many smokers have credited e-cigarettes with helping them to quit the habit

As the Government rolls out its plan for tobacco plain packaging, Newshub can reveal it is also eyeing up legalising nicotine e-cigarettes.

Senior ministers want to make tobacco alternatives vaping and e-cigarettes legal in New Zealand. Currently if the products contain nicotine or claim to help people give up smoking, they are illegal.

Many smokers have credited e-cigarettes with helping them to quit the habit.

It's received the backing of ACT leader David Seymour and Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox.

"There's no downside for legalising e-cigarettes," says Mr Seymour.

"The reality is it's the tar that kills you from smoking, and if I had a choice from being addicted to tar or to vapour, I'd choose vapour every time."

However, the original advocate of plain packaging who initiated the war on tobacco -- Dame Tariana Turia -- says e-cigarettes and vaping are not the solution.

"I've never believed at any time that we should be legalising anything that continues to facilitate cigarette smoking, and that's what e-cigarettes does," she said.

Today the Government will announce draft regulations for plain packaging of cigarettes and what it will look like. The Government has previously faced legal threats from big tobacco on the issue.

Dame Turia says New Zealand must stand up to "bullies" and isn't worried about legal action.

"To be honest with you they didn't win against the Australian government, so I'm not worried about them suing. They can threaten all they like but in the end that's all it is; it's just threats."

Today is World Smokefree Day.

Newshub.

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