New Zealand's E-cigarette Retail Growth Raises Concerns

New Zealand's E-cigarette Retail Growth Raises Concerns
New Zealand sees a surge in vaping retailers, causing concern for CEO of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation.

Letitia Harding, CEO of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand, has pointed out that the significant increase in the index of professional e-cigarette retailers in New Zealand over the past 12 months is a cause for concern.

As of February 2022, there are 666 registered professional e-cigarette retailers in New Zealand, and as of today, we now have 956. To put this in perspective, New Zealand has a total of 267 KFC and McDonald's restaurants. We have heard firsthand from the community that they are tired of e-cigarette shops popping up everywhere, with their products displayed in storefront windows," states Harding.

While regulations exist to oversee electronic cigarette stores, the foundation is concerned that these regulations are not being fully implemented and that retailers are taking advantage of the current environment to maximize their profits.

We don't need 934 specialized e-cigarette retailers. This means that e-cigarettes are easily accessible and readily available, which will only fuel the popularity of e-cigarettes among New Zealand teenagers," she said.

The foundation is particularly concerned about the widespread existence of "professional electronic cigarette retailers" that are being built within existing convenience stores. "This is a loophole that many retailers have been utilizing to sell more electronic cigarette products," she explained. "According to current regulations, only professional electronic cigarette retailers are allowed to sell the full range of electronic cigarette flavors.

The foundation believes that fundamentally changing the regulations surrounding tobacco products in smoke-free environments and amending the controlled products legislation is a timely opportunity to address the harm caused by electronic cigarette products. In the proposed legislation, the foundation is calling for stricter controls on e-cigarette retailers and a reduction in the nicotine content of e-cigarette products.

Dr. Stuart Jones, a respiratory advisor and consultant, stated that while this bill has changed the game for how New Zealand addresses the harms caused by tobacco cigarettes, there is still a need to address the widespread use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) among young people.

We have too many young people who have become addicted to nicotine through the use of electronic cigarette products. We can no longer wait a few more years to establish better regulations regarding ENDS products, as the magnitude of this problem will only continue to grow. Reducing the nicotine content in electronic cigarette products needs to be treated as an urgent matter. We need retailers to be kept away from our school environments and we need better regulation of these retailers," he said.


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