E-Cigarettes To Be Legal Down Under

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The word is spreading around the world — electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, vaping devices) are a much safer source of nicotine than are combustion cigarettes. New Zealand just announced the legalization of nicotine e-cigarettes and nicotine e-cigarette liquid.

Rather than burning tobacco, and creating smoke with up to 5,000 toxic chemicals, 70 of which are linked to cancer, vaping uses diluted nicotine vapor. Studies have shown they are up to 97 percent safer than cigarettes, which provides harm reduction while smoking cessation occurs.

NZ associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner stated “Scientific evidence on the safety of e-cigarettes is still developing but there’s a general consensus that vaping is much less harmful than smoking,”  The approval will, of course, come with some restrictions — sales will be legal only for those 18 years old and older; there will be restricted advertising to avoid attracting younger folks; and anywhere that smoking regular cigarettes is prohibited, vaping will be too. Further, while retailers who sell e-cigarettes will be allowed to advertise them at point-of-sales, and on their websites,  wide advertisements —TV, radio, internet — will not  be allowed. The new regulations must still be approved by the NZ Parliament; it's likely they will do so and the regulations will be in effect around mid-2018.

Thus, e-cigarettes will be regulated as consumer, not medical, devices. Too bad the U.S. isn't taking such a commonsense approach — here the FDA has grabbed oversight of all tobacco and tobacco-derived products, which outlaws everything made before 2015 and will make it much more difficult for small companies to get their e-cigarettes products approved, which likely means only giant pharmaceutical or tobacco companies stand a chance of getting government legitimacy.

ACSH has been firmly in the harm reduction corner for years — and as one of (if not the) earliest opponents of cigarette smoking on strictly health-related grounds —we are enthusiastic about any evidence that the truth about smoking reduction via vaping has been spreading.