The Ministry of Health has laid charges against tobacco company Philip Morris (New Zealand) Limited relating to the importation and selling of its tobacco sticks known as HEETS.
The Ministry considers HEETS fall into the category of tobacco products designed for oral use other than for smoking and are prohibited in New Zealand under Section 29 of the Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990.
Section 29 of the Act states:
(1) No person shall publish an advertisement for a tobacco product that directly or indirectly states or suggests that the product is suitable for chewing or for any other oral use (other than smoking).
(2) No person shall import for sale, sell, pack, or distribute any tobacco product labelled or otherwise described as suitable for chewing, or for any other oral use (other than smoking).
The charges have been laid at the Wellington District Court and the case has been set down for first appearance hearing on 2 June 2017.
HEETS are tobacco sticks that are heated in an electronic device, rather than burned like a traditional cigarette.
In March, the Government announced plans to develop a regulatory framework to provide a pathway for emerging tobacco and nicotine-delivery products to be regulated as consumer products in future.
To find out more, go to Regulation of e-cigarettes and emerging tobacco and nicotine-delivery products.