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Electric cigarettes to be legalised

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/08/2016
A man smoking an e-cigarette © AP Photo A man smoking an e-cigarette

The government intends legalising electric cigarettes under strict conditions.

Known as e-cigarettes, they're electronic devices that mimic real cigarettes by producing a vapour from a heated liquid.

The e-liquid is available with or without nicotine.

Currently the sale and supply of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is prohibited in New Zealand, but Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga says people are buying them online and importing them.

"The proposal is to make the sale and supply of all e-cigarettes lawful in New Zealand with appropriate controls," he said on Tuesday.

"The proposals would mean restricting the sale of e-cigarettes to people aged 18 years and over, prevent e-cigarettes being advertised and ban their use in smokefree areas."

Mr Lotu-Iiga has released a consultation document seeking public input.

He says e-cigarettes are relatively new products and are still evolving.

"There is scientific consensus that they are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes," he said.

But he has to consider safety issues.

"Ensuring e-liquids are sold in child-proof containers to prevent accidental poisoning is one obvious safety measure," he said.

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