Vaping product standards behind a paywall – disappointing

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After 2,518 submissions on the latest draft vaping regulations, it’s disappointing that local vape businesses and advocates have had to jump on a plane or dig deep into their pockets to view what’s proposed,” says a leading Tobacco Harm Reduction advocate.

The Government has gazetted the ‘Notice of Proposed Quality Standards for Vaping Substance Ingredients’, but it comes with a catch.

Due to copyright restrictions, those interested and businesses reliant on the details need to make an appointment to view the documents at the Ministry of Health’s office in Wellington. Alternatively, they’re advised to purchase copies of the United States Pharmacopoeia or the European Pharmacopoeia, where the proposed New Zealand standards have been referenced.

Submitters have been given until Thursday, 22 July to comment on the proposed material. The finalised vaping regulations will then be taken to Cabinet in early August for sign-off and phased in overtime.

“Unless we pay a fair ransom or take our photographic memories to Wellington, we simply cannot access these new industry specs. How can we possibly comment, let alone businesses prepare in a manufacturing sense, when no one can freely view the detail,” says Nancy Loucas, co-director of the Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA).

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AVCA has consistently called for vaping legislation and regulation. Last year, Parliament legislated vaping and since then a raft of industry, retail, and consumer regulations have started to take effect or been drafted.

“We are fully supportive of vaping’s R18 status and greater consumer protection through mandatory quality product standards. The Government now looks set to reference the European and US standards, and so we’re just asking for greater transparency.

“Surely, New Zealand vape businesses should be able to view their proposed industry standards for free? Surely, we can do better than point to a paywall, or have one copy available in an office in Wellington?”

Ms Loucas says AVCA called on the Vaping Regulatory Authority to at least ensure the proposed quality standards were also available at the Ministry of Health’s office in Auckland – where many of the country’s vape manufacturers and vape advocates reside.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been advised the only inspection site for the pharmacopoeia is in Wellington. The authority has assured us they’ll publish more information on the regulations once they’ve cleared Cabinet, but by then it’s all a little too late.

“We now strongly encourage Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall to release the full finalised regulatory details to local businesses, and into the public arena, as soon as the process allows,” says Nancy Loucas.

For links to the Government’s Gazette or the Vaping Regulatory Authority’s updated information please visit:

https://gazette.govt.nz/notice/id/2021-go2819?stageDraft

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/regulation-vaping-and-smokeless-tobacco-products

About AVCA

AVCA was formed in 2016 by vapers across New Zealand wanting their voices heard in local and central government. All members are former smokers who promote vaping to help smokers quit – a much less harmful alternative to combustible tobacco products. AVCA does not have any affiliation or vested interest in industry – tobacco, pharmaceutical and/or the local vaping manufacturing or retail sectors.

www.avca.org.nz

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