A decline in New Zealand’s national smoking rate has seen small business representatives call on the Australian Government to implement a similar vaping consumer model.

The New Zealand Government’s annual health update showed the national smoking rate had dropped from 13.7 per cent to 10.9 per cent, following the legalisation of nicotine containing vaping products to be sold in retail stores in 2020.

Currently in Australia, those wishing to purchase vaping products must consult a GP and use that prescription to either visit a pharmacy or order products from overseas.

A joint statement by the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS), the Master Grocers Association (MGA), and the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA), called on the Australian Government to implement a vaping consumer model if it serious about getting the smoking rate down and providing a fair playing field for retailers.

Theo Foukkare, AACS CEO, said the New Zealand model shows that by offering consumers access to nicotine containing e-cigarettes and vaping products more people will come off tobacco.

“The more you restrict access to a product, the more likely that product ends up on the black market and we are seeing signs of that. Disposable vapes are illegal, yet you see them frequently. At the moment, there’s no proper regulation to control who imports the product and what’s in the product – it’s all coming from overseas.

“We want a simple model, like New Zealand’s, where responsible retailers can sell a less harmful product to adults – one that reduces the incentives for black market products, and where everyone is clear on the rules.”

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