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A survey of 340 vapers at the Auckland Oceania Vape Expo
in December found a majority were interested in vaping
cannabinoid liquids if legalized. About a third (34%) said
they would, and 37 per cent said they certainly would, try
cannabinoid vaping liquids if they were legalized.

The
survey results are being presented at the Society for
Research on Nicotine and Tobacco conference in New Orleans
this week.

“One of the biggest surprises from this
survey of mostly Kiwi vapers was that a substantial black
market in cannabinoid vaping products already exists in New
Zealand,” said researcher Marewa Glover, one of the
authors of the study, and Director of the New Zealand based
Centre of Research Excellence: Indigenous Sovereignty and
Smoking.

“Of the vapers who currently smoke
cannabis, 50 per cent had vaped cannabinoid liquids, mostly
in New Zealand”.

The study also threw up warnings
for the Government who are currently debating the Smokefree
Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment
Bill.

It is proposed that specialist vape stores will
be able to continue selling a range of approved flavored
e-liquids, but convenience stores will only be able to sell
tobacco, menthol or mint flavored e-liquids.

“At
least among vapers that would attend an expo about vaping,
tobacco, menthol or mint flavors were of little interest to
them. Only 6 per cent vaped these 3 flavors,” said Dr
Glover.

“If the Government did ban e-liquid flavors
most survey respondents said they would seek or make
unregulated nicotine liquids. The strongest result from our
survey was that 90 per cent of vapers would seek to get
around the ban by buying their e-liquids from overseas or on
the black market; or they would mix their own e-liquids or
return to smoking.”

In order to reduce smoking
further in New Zealand, the authors believe the Government
needs to preserve the aspects of vaping that help people
switch completely and permanently from smoking to
vaping.

“There needs to be nicotine, a wide range of
flavors, a price advantage compared with cigarettes and the
understanding that vaping is not the same as smoking.
Instead the proposed legislation sends a clear message that
vaping is considered as bad as smoking, that current smokers
will be allowed to vape temporarily but eventually the
import and sale of all tobacco and vaping products will be
prohibited.”

If the use of cannabis products is
legalized, it is not clear if the amended Smoke-Free
Environments Act will be used to restrict where people can
smoke or vape cannabis products.

“The proposed
Amendment is very vague on many aspects. For instance, it
uses the term ‘vaping substance’ that might later be
used to cover cannabinoid liquids for vaping. There is a
distinct lack of transparency in that consumers and the vape
industry are not being clearly informed. The Amendment Bill
has far-reaching implications for anyone who smokes tobacco,
vapes anything, or uses oral tobacco and nicotine products
like snus which will be clearly prohibited by the
Amendment.

It is important that the proposed law
change is not rushed through because it is not just about
vaping. It is a radical rewrite and extension of the
original Smoke-Free Environments Act. It changes the intent
of the original Act, which was to reduce harm. It introduces
an American-like Premarket Tobacco Product Application
process and a sinking lid mechanism that would allow the
Director General of Health to over time force smaller
manufacturers out of the market.

If the Amendment goes
through as proposed, it protects the largest companies which
are tobacco companies.” Dr Glover said.

“The
Government risks creating significant unintended
consequences if they pass a law that will essentially be
ignored,” Dr Glover
said.

© Scoop Media

 

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