Electronic cigarettes (e‑cigarettes) are a relatively new and evolving product. Currently, the sale and supply of nicotine e‑cigarettes are prohibited, while smoked tobacco, which is more harmful for users, can be sold legally. Users obtain nicotine e‑cigarettes through importation and illegal local sales. The existing provisions for the regulation of e‑cigarettes, found primarily in the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 and the Medicines Act 1981, are not adequate. The legal status of e‑cigarettes is currently confusing and, as a consequence, the laws are not routinely enforced.
The risks and benefits of e‑cigarettes are uncertain but there is emerging evidence that e‑cigarette use may substantially reduce the burden of disease caused by smoking.
The Ministry of Health is consulting on policy options for the regulation of e‑cigarettes, including possible amendments to the SFEA. This consultation aims to clarify the legal position.
This publication contains a consultation submission form with specific questions to guide submissions due by 5 pm Monday 12 September 2016.