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Why New Zealand Should Follow the UK Model of E-Cigarette Regulation

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With government regulations for the vaping industry on the horizon in New Zealand, consumers and businesses alike know that, whether for better or worse, the industry will soon change forever. The good news for us is that the governments of the world’s biggest vaping markets have already instituted regulations of their own. That gives us an opportunity to examine the way in which the vaping industry has evolved around the world and determine which path we would like to emulate. 

The world’s two biggest vaping markets are the United States and the United Kingdom. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration instituted draconian regulations requiring all vaping product manufacturers to submit cumbersome and costly applications for their products – including individual applications for all e-liquid flavours and nicotine strengths – or face the removal of those products from the market in May 2020. Since complying with the application requirements is far too costly for most small businesses in the vaping industry, the U.S. isn’t likely to have much of a vaping industry remaining next May.

In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, vendors must comply with a common-sense set of regulations called the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). The TPD was put in place when the vaping industry was still new, and it hasn’t stifled UK e-cigarette sellers like V2 Cigs at all. It has also been great for consumers for reasons we’ll describe in this article. 

What is the best way in which the New Zealand vaping industry can move forward? In this article, we’ll explain why New Zealand should follow the U.K. model.

The U.K. Has No Teen Vaping Problem

In the United States, there is a serious problem with underage vaping. That problem exists because the U.S. government was slow to regulate the vaping industry and because, by the time regulations were introduced, high-nicotine brands such as JUUL were already on the market and have been allowed to remain. Most of America’s millions of teen vapers use JUUL. They experience the brand’s incredibly high nicotine strength of 59 mg/ml and become hooked. In the U.K., the TPD limits e-liquid nicotine strengths to a maximum of 20 mg/ml. British teens may experiment with e-cigarettes, but they quickly move on to other things. The common-sense limit on nicotine strengths makes e-cigarettes less addictive while ensuring that they still provide enough nicotine for committed smokers who want to make the switch.

U.K. Smokers Can Switch to Vaping With Confidence

Medical experts agree almost universally that vaping appears significantly less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Despite that fact, uptake of vaping among adult smokers has slowed in the U.S. since 2019. The industry’s growth has slowed because, with the May 2020 FDA application deadline looming, many smokers fear the possibility that they’ll switch to vaping only to be driven back to tobacco a few months later when most vaping products are removed from the market. U.S. vaping regulations have effectively helped to demolish what could have been the biggest public health win in decades. In the U.K., on the other hand, smokers can switch to vaping with confidence because they know the products that work for them aren’t going to disappear. Full government regulations of the industry are already in place; the future of vaping is secure. 

U.K. Vaping Regulations Ensure Product Safety

Government regulations of industries don’t exist to stifle economic growth and restrict product access; they exist to keep consumers safe. In the U.K., the TPD accomplishes that goal by requiring all e-liquid makers to put their products through emissions testing before selling those products. Basic safety standards ensure that consumers can use vaping products safely. Meanwhile, limits on bottle sizes and nicotine strengths help to prevent accidental nicotine poisoning. The TPD occupies a perfect middle ground in which consumers are protected without being inconvenienced, and businesses can grow.

U.K. Consumers Have Appealing and Affordable Product Options

It should be the goal of every government in the world to encourage as many smokers as possible to switch to vaping. Smoking causes millions of untimely deaths each year and places an enormous burden on the healthcare system that no amount of taxation can overcome. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the fact that vaping appears many orders of magnitude less harmful than smoking. 

If adult nicotine users are going to continue using nicotine either way, it is vital to transition those people to the least harmful method of nicotine consumption that they will actually use. Most people who try traditional nicotine replacement products don’t stick with them. Vaping, on the other hand, is both pleasurable and satisfying. Smokers who switch to vaping often stick with it – and the way to encourage smokers to make the switch is by ensuring that they have access to a wide variety of appealing and affordable product options. With its common-sense regulations and lack of flavour bans, the U.K. is the perfect environment for smokers who want to switch to a less harmful alternative. Smokers in the U.K. have switched to vaping by the millions, and British public health will only benefit as a result.

Owners of U.K. Vaping Businesses Can Invest With Confidence

In the United States, business owners in the vaping industry find themselves in a terrible position because they can’t invest in growth. The entire industry is stagnant because, unless the existing regulations are changed somehow, almost all of the vaping products in the U.S. will be removed from the market in May 2020. Why would you invest in the growth of your business when your industry will cease to exist in a few months? U.S. vaping regulations will soon result in the closure of thousands of small businesses and the loss of up to 150,000 jobs. The U.K., on the other hand, is a great environment for business owners in the vaping industry. Entrepreneurs can invest in growth and create new jobs with full confidence that the government won’t pull their work out from under them in a few months.


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