New Zealand issues nearly 100 infringement notices to offending vape stores alone

On Aug 23, RNZ reported that according to Ministry of Health data provided by the Official Information Act, fewer than 100 infringement notices have been issued to e-cigarette retailers since enforcement last year, resulting in a total of $42,900 in fines.

 

Alison Kosar, director of the Department of Health’s Public Health Policy and Oversight Action Team, said fines for selling to underage customers could range from NZ $200 to NZ $1,000, with 96 infringement notices mainly for selling e-cigarette brands to people under 18.

 

Mr. Kosar promised that enforcement was still being stepped up.

 

The number of inspectors empowered to enforce e-cigarette laws and regulations is expected to double “in the coming months.” There are currently 29 inspectors on enforcement duty in New Zealand and 32 others are being trained or recruited.

 

Because of the epidemic, Kosar blamed vape enforcement delays on the epidemic.

 

This work has been influenced by the effectiveness of public health services in Covid-19 areas.

More than 1,300 specialist e-cigarette retailers and more than 100 convenience stores, petrol stations, and grocery stores selling limited types of e-cigarette brands are listed on the New Zealand Health Advisory and Regulatory platform. Anna Stuart, a member of the social group Christchurch Mothers and Smoke-Free Teens, said the enforcement figures were shocking but not surprising.

 

She says:

“At the very least, laws and regulations or their implementation are the only way to curb the use of e-cigarettes by young people, and we’re not doing that.” They seem to be putting more resources into vape shops, but their regulatory compliance is not.”

She shared screenshots of online reviews with a local convenience store. The convenience store says it will continue to sell e-cigarettes to underage customers, even though it has been caught three times and fined.

 

Anna used to ask her teens to go to the store to see if they would sell e-cigarettes with him. As a result, she was shocked when he came out ten minutes later with limited merchandise.

 

“These stores continue to sell to young people, which reflects our undervaluation of young people’s health.”