The sale of smokeless tobacco products is to be legalized in New Zealand with a view to providing smokers with less-risky alternatives to cigarettes, according to a story by Rachel Thomas for

Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner said yesterday that some smokeless products available internationally, including heat-not-burn, snus, moist snuff, dissolvables and inhaled nicotine devices, might be significantly safer than were cigarettes.

Additionally, she added, restricting sales of these products might exacerbate supply and demand issues; for example, by encouraging black market sales.

Current laws ban the import, sale and distribution of tobacco products described as suitable for chewing or any other oral use besides smoking.

In her announcement Wagner said the government intended to establish a pre-market approval system for smokeless tobacco and nicotine-delivery products, other than e-cigarettes.

“This is part of new thinking – a forward looking approach, building on some of the innovative new technologies that are available intentionally to try and give smokers safer alternatives to tobacco,” she said.

Under pre-market approval provisions, smokeless products could be sold legally only after manufacturers had demonstrated that the use of these products was significantly less harmful than was tobacco smoking.

Wagner made her announcement in front of health experts and advocates who were presenting the Achieving Smoke-free Aotearoa Project (ASAP) – a road map on how to achieve the country’s smoke-free 2025 goal.

Their plan called for the government to reduce the availability and convenience of tobacco products, to place severe restrictions on retailers and to impose massive cigarette tax increases.

Project leader, University of Otago Wellington Professor Richard Edwards, reportedly was “a bit taken aback” by Wagner’s announcement.

“We put all these recommendations and things in the report and this wasn’t one of them,” he said of Wagner’s announcement.

Edwards said the government should assess the impact of new laws on e-cigarettes, which are set to come into effect next year – before adding other types of tobacco-containing products.

Chinese Association on Tobacco Control Copyright © 1992-2011
  906-907 Anhuidongli, Chaoyang District Beijing 100101

Tel: (8610)64983905  Fax: (8610)64983805     Email: