The Vaping Regulatory Authority has extended the deadline for companies to provide information demonstrating their vaping products are compliant with current regulations by a week to 12 noon Friday 9 December.
The Authority earlier wrote to 60 companies about 2,149 vaping products that had been notified for sale in New Zealand, where further evidence is required to confirm they comply with the law.
Companies were required to provide product safety information following a review of the 8,083 vaping substances able to be sold in New Zealand.
‘For the majority of the products reviewed, no issues have been found, but in some cases, information provided by the manufacturer or importer indicated that they could include prohibited ingredients or they could have nicotine salt levels that exceed the legal limit’, says Vaping Regulatory Authority Manager Matthew Burgess.
‘Following the review, companies have withdrawn notifications for 340 vaping products, meaning they can no longer be legally sold in New Zealand. We will be publishing a list of products that are no longer notified on the Ministry of Health website shortly.’
‘Regarding the remainder of the 1,809 products, the Authority is working with manufacturers and importers to understand whether there are any issues relating to the products themselves, or whether there were errors or omissions in the information that was submitted to the Authority.’
Each of the 60 companies responsible for the 2,149 products has been asked to provide:
- a full list of ingredients for the product, including the volume or weight of each
- an image or photograph of the product’s labelling, including the ingredient lists
- details of the actions and assessments they undertook to satisfy themselves that the product was safe prior to notifying it for sale in New Zealand.
All vaping products on sale in New Zealand must be notified to the Authority. The notifications system automatically flags notifications that include prohibited chemicals for review, and does not allow notifiers to declare nicotine levels above the permitted maximums. Under the regulations, products are not assessed or tested separately by the Authority when they are notified. Vaping notifiers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe, that they comply with the product safety requirements, and that information they provide in their notifications about their products is accurate.
Recently, the Authority has taken several actions to support compliance in vaping regulation following concerns that some businesses may have misunderstood the legally permitted levels of nicotine salts in vaping products, meaning that some products for sale could exceed these legal limits.
At this stage, there is no evidence that vaping products being sold in New Zealand have levels of nicotine high enough to significantly increase the risk of harm. The main risk with vaping products with levels of nicotine beyond the permitted level in New Zealand is that they may increase a person’s nicotine addiction.
The Authority is committed to supporting the public and the vaping industry to minimise the harm caused by vaping products, while recognising that these products can be a valuable tool to help people to quit smoking. This commitment includes ongoing efforts to raise awareness on the regulatory requirements as well as enforcement action where this is needed.
Vaping products are regulated under the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 (the Act), with specific vaping regulation introduced in November 2020 setting a number of limits and requirements for all vaping products being sold in New Zealand.
All vaping products for sale in New Zealand must be notified through the Authority’s Health Advisory and Regulatory Platform (HARP) database. Products that are not notified, or notified incorrectly, cannot be legally sold in New Zealand. The Notified Products register is available at Notified Products Register – Health Advisory and Regulatory Platform.
One of these requirements when notifying is that vaping liquid for sale in New Zealand must not exceed a freebase nicotine concentration of 20mg/mL or a nicotine salt concentration of 50mg/mL. These two separate limits reflect that some vaping substances use nicotine derived by tobacco by itself, as a freebase, while others mix the nicotine with an acid, such as benzoic acid, creating a salt.