The regulation will support the rapid recall of products containing potentially harmful ingredients.
Under New Zealand’s latest smoke-free legislation, from Friday 11 February, thousands of e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products will be sold illegally unless they are registered with the Ministry of Health.
New Zealand consumers will also have access to a new database of vaping products, allowing them to confirm their registration before purchasing.
The move will also require manufacturers and importers to immediately report any adverse reactions to their products to the ministry’s Electronic Cigarette Regulatory Authority.
ACC statistics show there are an average of 1.4 vaping-related injuries per week – including burns and glass cuts.
The country’s largest e-cigarette retailer has welcomed the move, saying the industry is still relatively in its infancy and increased regulation is essential to protect consumers.
Shosha spokesman Nabhik Gupta said the new regulations established a framework under the Smoke-Free Environments and Regulated Products (E-Cigarettes) Amendment Act, under which the health minister could impose new restrictions on e-cigarette sales.
“What we know about the new regulations is that they require a complete breakdown of the quantities of ingredients in each vaping product to notify the Ministry of Health (MoH)
“This will allow the Ministry of Health to take a range of measures, including announcing maximum levels of substances in products, banning certain ingredients and even issuing public warnings about products, all at a granular level.
“In many ways, we are approaching the regulatory level and public health standards of the pharmaceutical industry.
“This means in practice that if a particular product or ingredient is determined to pose a risk to public health, it can be quickly taken off shelves across the country – giving consumers a new level of confidence in the industry,” He said.
Drug counsellor Leanne French said the new regulatory model would help reassure New Zealanders looking to quit smoking.
“These changes will give smokers more confidence in quitting knowing that there is a higher level of ministerial oversight of the safety of alternative products on the market,” she said.
Gupta said they encouraged consumers to check the Ministry of Health’s Health Advisory and Regulatory Platform (HARP) database before purchasing to ensure products have been notified.
The platform contains details on tens of thousands of different vape products – with more being added every day, he said.
“As shown by the sheer volume of HARP products, the industry has grown at an unprecedented rate in recent years as more and more New Zealanders embark on the journey to quit smoking.
“For any new industry that may face public health risks, it is critical to ensure that regulations are future-proof and protect consumers by keeping up with the development of new technologies.
“We fully support the new standard and advise consumers to actively use the ministry’s database before purchasing,” he said.