New Zealand Retailer Fined for Selling E-Cigarettes to Minors

New Zealand Retailer Fined for Selling E-Cigarettes to Minors
A New Zealand retailer was fined for selling e-cigarettes to minors; enforcement and parental responsibility are key to combating underage use.

A retail store in New Zealand has been fined for selling electronic cigarettes to minors. The enforcement of regulations by relevant authorities and parental responsibility have been identified as critical in combatting youth use of e-cigarettes, according to Nancy Loucas, co-founder of the New Zealand Vaping Alliance (AVCA).

Reports suggest that regulatory bodies are cracking down hard on this illegal activity. Over the past few months, the National Public Health Service has conducted controlled purchases on 39 retailers in Canterbury.

Seven retailers were found to have sold e-cigarette products to a 16-year-old girl without requiring her to provide proof of identity. This violates the 2020 Amendment to the Smoke-free Environment and Regulated Products (Electronic Cigarettes) Law. If these retailers are found to violate the law three times, they will face legal action.

The AVCA continues to call for a ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

Most convenience stores have received infringement notices and fines. Another issue is that too many of them are allowed to partition portions of their stores into specialized e-cigarette retailers, enabling them to sell a variety of flavors. This requires regulatory bodies to strengthen their oversight and reassess the situation, as frankly, they are not experts," said Mrs. Lucas.

Since 2020, only licensed convenience stores and other general retailers have been selling mint, menthol, and tobacco flavors.

She said, "Restricting flavors in general retail has had significant unexpected consequences locally. This will only lead to more bad e-cigarette retailers. The best way to address this issue is to allow more flavors into general retail, as per ASH's recommendations, while taking tough measures to enforce R18.

The AVCA has stated that thanks to e-cigarettes, New Zealand is on track to achieve its smoke-free goal of reducing smoking by 5% or less by 2025. Another contributing factor to the ten-year national goal will be the Smoke-free Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill. The Health Select Committee of Parliament is expected to report on the matter by December 1st.

Ayesha Verrall, New Zealand's deputy minister of health, recently reiterated the importance of providing safer nicotine products for adult consumers. She stated, "We need to continue supporting smokers in successfully transitioning to less harmful products.

Nancy Lucas states, "New Zealand is demonstrating to the world how to go smoke-free. By eliminating access and appeal to deadly cigarettes and implementing ways to reduce tobacco harm, they are ensuring that adults have access to safer and viable nicotine alternatives.

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