Retailers expect more people to quit smoking and take up "vaping" after the Government made plans to legalise the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes.

The change was a big victory for e-cigarette retailers and users, and products could be sold legally in the coming year.

The new law would change the rule that prevents nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid from being sold. As the rules stand customers can buy e-cigarettes and e-liquid but must import their own nicotine online and mix it with e-liquid themselves.

Papamoa's Naked Vapour store owner Lia Haskett said the law change was long overdue.

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She said for many people looking into e-cigarettes, the prospect of importing their own nicotine from overseas and then learning how to mix it could be daunting and put them off.

Handling concentrated nicotine could be risky, and gloves had to be worn and ratios measured just right.

"I suspect there will be an increase in sales, it will become easier for people to switch over without all the hassle," Ms Haskett said.

Critics of e-cigarettes said the verdict was not yet in on the impact e-cigarettes had on human health, and scientific evidence was still developing.

Ms Haskett said like anything people put in their body, there was an element of personal responsibility when it came to using e-cigarettes.

Rob and Lia Haskett opened a vaping store called Naked Vapour Shop in Papamoa. Photo/file
Rob and Lia Haskett opened a vaping store called Naked Vapour Shop in Papamoa. Photo/file

"Studies or not, there's always going to be people who think they know better," she said.

Ben Kitson, owner of ever-expanding E-Juice Bar in Greerton, said legalising nicotine e-cigarettes was what the people needed and was a step towards the Government's goal of a smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

"We will be able to give people a better service and help them. I think it will make a big difference and see more people switch - a lot of people were discouraged from vaping because they could not get nicotine on the spot," Mr Kitson said.

Alex Gaw, 24, starting smoking when he was 14. After six years of bad asthma and painful lungs he walked into an e-cigarette store and has not looked back since.

Mr Gaw has weaned himself down to the lowest ratio of nicotine to e-liquid over the past four years.

"Now it has become my hobby, building and buying more machines."

Mr Gaw was glad he would soon not have to import his own nicotine. Buying it from Canada, sending it to a friend in Cleveland and then on to New Zealand was a hassle.

"I think what the Government has done is better for the community and if they want to get smokefree by 2025 vaping is the way to do it - telling someone to just quit never works," he said.

WHAT IS VAPING?

E-cigarettes are electric devices that produce a vapour which the users inhale, called vaping. Liquid for the device comes in a variety of flavours and can be mixed with nicotine to varying levels. Often users will gradually mix less and less nicotine to the e-liquid to wean themselves off their addiction to nicotine.

PLANNED LEGISLATION
- sales restricted to people over 18 years
- vaping banned in indoor areas where smoking is restricted
- e-cigarette advertising on radio, TV and billboard not allowed
- tax on cigarettes would not be applied to e-cigarettes
- Ministry of Health has been monitoring the evidence on the role of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation