Vaping bill breaches Bill of Rights Act

Stuff reports:

A proposed law change prohibiting ads for vaping products and is “inconsistent” with the right to freedom of expression, the Attorney-General states. 

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Bill was introduced to Parliament last week, including a complete ban on the sale of vaping and smokeless tobacco products to anyone under 18

Under the bill, the advertising of vaping products and smokeless tobacco was also banned, e-liquid flavours would be restricted and vapers can no longer light up in smoke-free areas. 

But a report released by Attorney-General David Parker stated parts of the bill banning the advertising or promotion of vaping products were “inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression” under the . …

Parker’s report said the bill limited freedom of expression in a number of ways, including prohibiting advertising regulated products, restricting trademarks and company names, and requiring standardised packaging. 

He had to determine whether the objective of the bill – to protect the health of the public – was justified enough to overrule freedom of expression. 

In his view, while some restrictions on advertising were “likely justifiable”, a “blanket prohibition” was not a “proportionate response, given the lack of evidence for [vaping] being harmful”, he stated. 

“On the contrary, vaping is significantly safer than smoking,” he said in the report. 

Hopefully Parliament may take notice.

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