New Zealand: E-cigs must not be used as a cash grab
The leader of New Zealand’s Association of Consumers and Taxpayers (ACT), David Seymour, welcomes the country’s move toward legalization of electronic cigarettes but cautions the Government against applying excise tax on these products. Currently sales of nicotine containing liquid and electronic cigarette devices are prohibited in New Zealand, although they may be imported over the internet for personal use. The Government is considering relaxing its position and permitting local sales subject to age and advertising restrictions. Legalization remains uncertain, however, as a cabinet paper released by the Health Ministry argues that while vaping may be less harmful than smoking there was insufficient evidence to recommend e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aide.
ACT’s Seymour warns that taxing e-cigarettes would discourage smokers from switching from a harmful product to a relatively safe one. A tax would undermine the financial incentive that smokers currently enjoy when they opt for electronic cigarettes over traditional combustible tobacco.