Written by RNZ

Outdated legislation for vaping and e-cigarettes is preventing the Health Ministry from cracking down on them, the ministry says.

New research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal yesterday revealed only one in 10 websites selling e-cigarettes was asking for proof of age, and 70 percent had no obvious health warnings.

It also found that of 59 New Zealand websites with such products, 68 percent had no obvious health warnings, and only 25 percent mentioned nicotine addiction.


A Ministry of Health spokesperson said there were practical barriers to enforcing the smoke-free legislation for vaping products because the law only applied to nicotine manufactured from tobacco, nor did it cover devices that contained no nicotine.

Last year the ministry lost a legal fight to stop the tobacco giant Philip Morris importing and selling tobacco sticks designed to be heated instead of burned like cigarettes.

George Thomson, of Otago University, said companies were either flouting the law or thought it did not apply to them.

"It's essential that we have a effective way of age proof. We have a system which the govt uses for e-commerce and we need that sort of system where there is proof of identity to be applied for youth purchases."

He said e-cigarette companies all over the world were resisting regulation.

The Ministry's statement came after experts urgently called for regulation from the government.

The government has said the process was taking longer than it would like but that it needed to take the time to get it right.