Vaping bill breaches Bill of Rights Act

Stuff reports:

A proposed law change prohibiting ads for vaping products and e-cigarettes 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 Bill of Rights Act. …

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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