Regulations: expected time line and what about the three flavours?

Last week Associate Minister of Health Hon. Jenny Salesa made a statement to media that fired up the vaping community.

On flavours she said:

“The legislation that I am about to introduce ahh to the house will ban most flavours, umm, I will be allowing umm at the moment at least three ahh which includes ahh tobacco, umm menthol and mint.”

And with regard to advertising and promotions:

“Similar to tobacco, we will ban advertising, umm social media, umm all of that is not going to be allowed ahh under the new legislation, ahh discounts two-for-one all of that is not going to be allowed.”

The Ministers recent comments are a stark contrast to the sentiment she presented at the Vaping Policy Forum in April 2019

The Ministers recent comments are a stark contrast to the sentiment she presented at the Vaping Policy Forum in April 2019


It is rare for bills that are introduced by the governing party to be defeated, so we need to look at how much time we have as a community and industry before any “proposed flavour bans” or “complete ban on advertising” could potentially come into effect, and therefore how much time we have and what opportunities we have to influence the outcome. To do this, it is important to understand the New Zealand legislative process.

How long till regulation?

Being in New Zealand means we have a modern democracy with well defined opportunities to influence any proposed legislation as it moves through the process. The government is due to introduce amendments to the Smokefree Environments Act (SFEA) in the next few weeks, here is how the process works:

Introduction (est. early October 2019): The bill is ‘Introduced’ into the house, this administrative process is later announced in the House. A bill has no formal existence until it is introduced and the proposed bill will be available for the public to view following introduction. See on the info-graphic (from parliament) that consumers, charities and businesses can still lobby Jenny Salesa on the proposed legislation up untill its introduction next month - there are a number of ways you can do this and we explain them below in the How can you Help? section.

First reading (est. October - December 2019): This is when Salesa’s long awaited bill will get its first airing in parliament and we will be able to see debates on the bill from MP’s. We will learn more about which MPs support the bill and who do not. At the end of the debate the House decides if a bill should progress by voting on whether it should be ‘read a first time’. If a bill is defeated in the vote, that is the end of the bill - it will be withdrawn. If the ‘first reading’ is agreed, the bill is referred to a select committee to be considered in more detail.

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Select Committee (est. 6 month process): The Select Committee is when members of the public have the highest chance of influencing proposed Vape regulations. A select committee is a committee made up of a small number of parliamentary members appointed to deal with particular areas or issues. The committee usually has 6 months to examine the bill and prepare a report for the House. Select committees normally invite public submissions on a bill and then they hold public hearings to listen to some of those who made submissions. After hearing submissions they work through the issues raised, and decide what changes, if any, should be made to the bill.

When the select committee calls for public submissions, this is when you have another opportunity (possibly the most important one) to make your opinion heard and to push back on proposed flavour bans and any other overreaching proposals that may be included in the bill.

The public submissions phase of the select committee is the most crucial time to influence the process as it has the most likelihood of influencing the Select Committee report on the bill and if a large number of submissions are received may result in favourable changes being recommended in the committees report. You can contribute to favourable legislation by writing a compelling submission on how vaping has impacted you and how flavour bans or other possible restrictions will impact future smoker conversions and ultimately negatively impact the heath of New Zealanders including you and your loved ones.

The Smokefree Environment Act amendments will be heard by the Health Select Committee. Current members of this committee are:

Chairperson - Louisa Wall - Labour Party – Manurewa

Deputy – Chairperson -  Shane Reti - National Party – Whangarei

Member - Maggie Barry - National Party - North Shore

Member – Liz Craig - Labour Party – List

Member – Matt Doocey - National Party – Waimakariri

Member - Ruth Dyson -  Labour Party - Port Hills

Member - Jenny Marcroft - NZ First Party – List

In advance of the bill being introduced, it is definitely worthwhile contacting these members of the committee (in addition to your local MP, Hon Jenny Salesa and Hon Dr David Clark) to pre-empt them on opposition to flavour bans and other excessive restrictions.

Second reading (est. April 2020 - December 2020): During the second reading, members of the public can lobby MP’s to vote for or against a bill, however during this stage there is limited ability to affect changes to the bill other than attempting to get a member to vote for or against. This is why the select committee stage is the most crucial time for getting involved in the process. A bill can be read a second time no sooner than the third sitting day after the select committee reports to the House. Members can then debate the main principles of a bill, and any changes recommended by the select committee in its report. Changes not supported by every committee member are subject to a single vote at the end of the second reading debate. Changes that are supported by every committee member are automatically included in the bill if the second reading is agreed. If the vote is lost, that is the end of the bill. If the second reading is agreed, the bill is ready for debate by a committee of the whole House.

Committee of the whole House: Again, during this stage members of the public can only lobby MP’s to attempt to make changes or introduce supplementary order papers. Any member of the House can participate when a committee of the whole House debates a bill. The members sit in the Chamber but the Speaker does not take the chair. The debate is less formal than other debates, but just as important. Members have many chances to make short speeches and debate the provisions of a bill. These debates are a chance to examine the bill in detail. Ministers and members can propose changes. These changes may be published before the debate in a supplementary order paper (SOP). Once the final form of a bill is agreed, it is reprinted to show any changes that have been made. The bill is then ready for third reading.

Third reading (est. October 2020 - December 2021): This is usually a summing-up debate on a bill in its final form. The vote at the end of the debate is the final vote in the House to either pass the bill or reject it. Bills are rarely rejected at this stage. If the bill is passed there is one final step before it becomes law.

Governor-General - Dame Patsy Reddy

Governor-General - Dame Patsy Reddy

Royal Assent: A bill is not a law until it is signed by the Sovereign or the Sovereign’s representative in New Zealand, the Governor-General. This is called the Royal assent, a formality that usually occurs within a week of the third reading.

Grace Period: There is likely to be a grace period of compliance for the legislation. The length of the grace period may vary for different components of the legislation; for example flavours may be allowed to phase out over a 12-month period while advertisements may be required to stop within 3-months of the Royal Assent. All in all, its entirely possible that we are still looking at a further 20 - 36 month period without regulations being enforced.

So what happens now?

It is very difficult to place a timeline on a new bill. A recent example of legislation that stands out as going through the process lightening fast is the The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill that only took 11 days from being first introduced until Royal Assent (1/04/2019 – 11/04/2019). However, the law only took effect in June 2019 and has a buyback grace period until December 2019. This bill was obviously pushed through in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack (8 months from start to finish is lightening quick in political terms) and it is extremely unlikely that the E-Liquid regulations will be rushed through under such urgency.

To get a clearer picture of what we are working with we must look at previous bills and understand their legislative timelines and grace periods before they were enforced.


Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill

The legislative process took 391 days from introduction to Royal Assent and no grace period. Even with healthy drinking water our legislative process still took over a year to make small changes aimed at protecting the health of New Zealand’s population.

Introduction to enforcement – 391 days


Tobacco Point of Sale prohibition

This legislative process took 228 days from introduction to Royal Assent, a further 12 month grace period was afforded to retailers from date of the Royal Assent.

Introduction to enforcement - 593 days.


Contempt of Court Bill

This legislative process took 522 days from introduction to Royal Assent, a further 12 month period was afforded from date of the Royal Assent until enforcement.

Introduction to enforcement - 887 days.


Trusts Bill

This legislative process took 728 days from introduction to Royal Assent, some parts of the bill were effective the day following the Royal Assent whilst most of the law did not come into force until 18 months after the Royal Assent.

Introduction to enforcement - upto 1276 days.


Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Standardised Packaging) Amendment Bill

This legislation took 1002 days form introduction to Royal Assent. The grace period afforded to Tobacco companies was quite extraordinary - 2 years. The bill wasn’t enfored until June 2018.

Introduction to enforcement – 1642 days

Tobacco tax revenues are almost $1.7 BILLION per year, 40x what is spent on harm reduction

Tobacco tax revenues are almost $1.7 BILLION per year, 40x what is spent on harm reduction

Unlike Tobacco products the government doesn’t need to protect any exorbitant excise tax that it collects from Vaping products, and so its unlikely we will see a 1642 day lead in time until enforcement on vaping advertising, for example. Whilst it is reassuring to our industry that we are not likely to see any changes enforced anytime soon this is not an excuse for us to become complacent. We need to work co-operatively and constructively to make our points clear any opportunity we have. In three weeks time we are likely to have had our first look at the proposed legislation that has the potential to change our industry dramatically. Lets make sure we use that three weeks to let the Labour government know the cold hard truth…banning flavours will directly result in more smoking related illnesses and deaths.


How can you help?

Things you can do now:

Like AVCA on Facebook to keep up to date with the leading consumer advocacy organisation in New Zealand - these people represent us all! Donate to AVCA if you can.

Join the Kiwis Against The Flavour Ban group and page on Facebook to see many stories from people that used vaping to quit smoking, share your story with them. After that you can use what you’ve written to form an email to the politicians.

Educate yourself on the history, the benefits of vaping for cessation, the health risks, and what regulations have been implemented overseas.

Salesa has not introduced the bill yet, so it is not yet in its final form. There is opportunity now, over the next 3 weeks to influence the draft of the bill by writing to her and the Minister of Health. You can get your message across!

Hon Jenny Salesa

Hon Dr David Clark

Later down the track, Salesa cannot pass this legislation without the majority support of parliamentarians. That means over 50% of parliament must agree with her bill on the third reading.

After the first reading in parliament it will be a good time to write to your local MP and the members of the Health Select Committee (above) in the way that suits you. If you come at things from a more emotive point of view then tell your MP about your story or the story of a loved one that has been helped by electronic cigarettes. If you are a facts and figures person then show to your local MP with some numbers and research how a flavour ban would lead to a reduction in vaping uptake by smokers and hence smoking cessation, and therefore how a flavour ban will result in increased lives lost. Here is a great example of a letter written to a local MP.

Some politicians are pragmatic and sensible… like Norman Lamb from the UK:

Cahn McKenzie Comments
Impending Regulations: What will NZ Govt do?

NZ Regulations are coming, what should we expect?

Big tobacco’s ‘non profit’ groups and special interests are proceeding with their assault on the vape industry in the USA. The FDA has accelerated their timeframe for vape products to apply for PMTA which could mean the end of smaller vape vendors. With regulations soon to be announced in New Zealand we look at what indications the Government has made to date and compare two major regulatory regimes that other western countries are pursuing. We believe there is a risk that the NZ government will over regulate our industry and this could kill off many of the smaller juice makers in New Zealand.

PMTA shows Big Tobacco’s influence in the USA, will the New Zealand Government do the same?

Big developments in the USA vape market are underway; a Maryland district court judge recently released a judgement that accelerated the timeline requiring US vape companies to apply for PMTA (pre-market tobacco approval) from the FDA.  Vape companies had been working with a timeline of late 2021 for PMTA submission, Judge Grimm (appropriately named) has rushed that forward to 10 months from May 2019 with a further 12-month grace period until products without PMTA need to be removed from shelves.

Unfortunately, we can’t lay the blame directly with Judge Grimm or the FDA for the new PMTA regime, the response is no doubt directly related to the American Pediatric Associations lawsuit alleging that the FDA was to blame for the burgeoning ‘youth epidemic of teen vaping’ in the USA.

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What the hell is PMTA?

PMTA stands for Pre-market Tobacco Approval that requires potential vendors to make an application that must be reviewed and approved by the Food and Drug Administration before a new tobacco product can be legally marketed in the United States.

This means that vape companies must undertake costly research to demonstrate to the agency that the marketing of the new tobacco product would be appropriate for the protection of public health. The FDA has to take into account the risks and benefits to the population as a whole, including users and non-users of the products. The FDA is also mandated to consider the likely impact of the products on people’s behaviour, particularly the likelihood that those who do not currently use tobacco products will be attracted to start using the product.


The PMTA also requires the submitter to include the products components/ingredients, and any health risks associated with the components. As well as product manufacturing specifications and clearly outline the packaging and labeling that the product will be sold in. Whilst this all sounds routine information the devil is in the detail.

The accompanying guidance document issued by the FDA comes in at an eye watering 55 pages long, it is by design arduous and jargon filled, some argue you need a scientist to interpret the guidance document let alone have a scientist prepare your own PMTA application. The FDA’s early estimates were that PMTA would cost $117,000 to $400,000 per product and that approval would be required for each product, not for each flavour, which means that every new nicotine strength you have for the same flavour would count as a new product.

For a simple 5 flavour range with 3 nicotine levels you would be looking at a staggering $1.7 million US dollars for your PMTA and there is no guarantee that your application would even be approved!

Costs SKYROCKET in the USA with PMTA

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These rules require excessive detail for each individual product and is effectively wasting money on unnecessary research into countless products that are nearly identical. There is a narrow range of vape product categories. An alternative regulatory approach is to focus research at a product category level for vaping products on the market. This is because all vaping liquids have the same ingredients with variations essentially limited to flavouring compounds.

Individual products should have their composition identified so common flavouring compounds can be identified and studied for long term effects. This can be achieved with a toxicological risk assessment of each product, making data available for any high risk compounds to be identified. This data can be used for further meaningful research into the harm reduction benefits of vaping.

The action by the FDA is a classic example of special interest groups flexing their muscles in the states. This is blatantly apparent from the FDA records showing the number of PMTA applications already submitted. Of the 475 PMTA applications submitted to date 98% were declines, most interestingly, the 4 products that were approved are all heat not burn (HNB) products from Big Tobacco companies. A clear sign that big tobacco has found a way to protect their profits at the expense of the wider vape industry and ultimately vape users – the ex-smokers that have been harmed by Big Tobacco for decades!

Tobacco APPROVED vs Vaping DECLINED!

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What the hell is TPD?

TPD, which stands for Tobacco Products Directive, is the EU regulation that governs the manufacture, presentation and sale of all tobacco and tobacco related products in Europe. It came into force over 2014 – 2016 and mandates things like Packaging (eg warnings like ‘Tobacco smoke contains over 70 substances known to cause cancer’ must cover 65% of visible packaging etc.) and emissions (no more than 10mg of tar, 1mg of nicotine and 10mg of carbon monoxide per cigarette etc.).

Unfortunately, the EU considers electronic cigarettes to be a tobacco product despite containing no tobacco…what?

Vaping is not smoking.jpg

As the TPD relates to Vaping:


All new products must be notified to the local authority at least 6 months before sale on market. Notification includes: name of manufacturer, list of ingredients, toxicological emissions report data, nicotine concentration, a description of the production process and declaration that this process conforms to the TPD, supplier declaration to bear full responsibility for quality and safety of product.


Nicotine containing E-Liquid bottles must be child and tamper proof and cannot exceed 10mL volume, while cartridges and tanks cannot exceed 2mL. The product composition is subject to certain requirements: Nicotine containing E-Liquids are limited to a maximum of 20mg/mL and cannot contain vitamins, caffeine, taurine, colours or anything with a similar effect. Ingredients, other than nicotine, must be of high purity and exhibit no human health risk in liquid or heated form.

Manufacturers must submit annually comprehensive market data, including sales volumes, by brand name and type of the product. Modes of sale and consumer preferences by demographics. All such non-trade sensitive information must be made publicly available. In the event it is believed that a product is not safe or not of good quality or otherwise not in conformity with TPD then the supplier must immediately withdraw/recall the product from the market or otherwise bring the product into conformity with TPD.

With TPD coming into force many European E-Liquid manufacturers upgraded their practices and procedures to improve their ability to meet the high purity requirement and limit the risk of contamination of their juice production. The best way to reduce the risk of contaminants is to introduce controlled cleanroom manufacturing. Operating in a cleanroom environment gives the operator the opportunity to improve the working practices and standards, in addition to providing air management and filtration.

Presentation and Sale:

E-Liquids must be sold with a leaflet listing usage and health information. All products must clearly state all ingredients in descending order of weight and include specific nicotine content along with estimated delivery per dose. Labels must also include the batch number and include the health warning: ‘This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance’. Virtually all promotion of the product is prohibited, including a ban on all print media advertising, radio, sponsorship and audio-visual communications.

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You can compare the heavy handed PMTA approach with European Tobacco Product Directive (TPD). The difference between the USA – with special interest influence – and the more reasonable approach by the EU is plain as day. TPD comes with its own flaws (eg, bottle size and nicotine strength), but it sets a more reasonable approach with requirement for testing, manufacturing, and labelling.

NZ Regulations: current state of play

The slow gears of the New Zealand regulatory process are nearing the final stages. After many years and successive governments, Associate Heath Minister Jenny Salesa has indicated that proposed Amendments to the SFEA (Smokefree Environments Act) are due to be announced this September (or there abouts).

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In developing the legislation, the Ministry of Health has held a series of meetings with the Technical Expert Advisory Group which is made up of various experts from industry, the health sector and other technical experts. Minutes of the meetings can be found here.

Summary of takeaways from the minutes:

  • The government recognises the public health benefit from supporting vaping

  • A light touch regulation approach was discussed

  • The government will release a standard for manufacturing and testing covering ingredient validation, personnel, cleanliness and premises.

  • Labelling requirements

The government has made indications that the provisions of the SFEA amendment will give the government the following:

  • Provisions for limiting flavours

  • Provision for limiting nicotine strengths

  • Possible emissions testing

  • Likely restrictions on advertising

Current thinking is that this will mean a ban on certain flavours and overly conservative limits on nicotine strengths which would have serious impacts on the industry and ultimately the prevalence of vaping and its enormous associated public health benefit. However, our understanding from the available information is that the SFEA amendments will give the government the ability to restrict flavours and strengths in the future rather than starting out with this. So these risks are still present but may be delayed or possibly never implemented at all.

5,000 Kiwis die every year from smoking! That means there we 13 preventable deaths today.

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Could NZ follow in the footsteps of heavy-handed regulations in Europe or the USA?

It looks like NZ government is more aware of the health benefits to the biggest public health crisis over the last century. We expect regulations to be less onerous than other regulatory environments but there is always the possibility that local politicians will copy off shore regulations to avoid doing the leg work required to come up with a good system. Stay tuned to our site for updates as the regulations are announced and we will publish our submissions as we make them.

As an existing manufacturer, Lion Labs believes in high quality production premises and strict operational procedures to ensure product safety and quality. We have self-regulated our operation to world class standards already and are prepared for regulations.

Cahn McKenzie Comment
What's in an E-Liquid?

In this blog we talk about the raw materials used in E-Liquids and how they are made. We also discuss some safety concerns for E-Liquid consumers and why manufacturing standards are important.

Here at Lion Labs we take great pride in our E-Liquid manufacturing standards. We have a world-class laboratory here in New Zealand! We manufacture all our products in our high-spec clean room and use pharmaceutical grade raw materials in all our E-Liquids. There are currently no regulations for the manufacturing of E-liquids in New Zealand, and this is a big problem for the integrity of the industry as a whole.

Here at Lion Labs we take great pride in our E-Liquid manufacturing standards. We have a world-class laboratory here in New Zealand! We manufacture all our products in our high-spec clean room and use pharmaceutical grade raw materials in all our E-Liquids. There are currently no regulations for the manufacturing of E-liquids in New Zealand, and this is a big problem for the integrity of the industry as a whole.

What is in E-Liquid?

There are four main raw ingredients that go into any one batch of E-liquid: Vegetable Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Flavour concentrate and Nicotine. These are mixed together, bottled into the various sizes and steeped before they are available on the market.

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Vegetable Glycerine

Commonly referred to by vapers as VG, vegetable glycerine is made by heating triglyceride rich vegetable fats such as palm, soy and coconut oils under extreme pressure. The heat and pressure causes the vegetable glycerine to split away from fatty acids and mix together with water, forming an odourless, sweet-tasting syrup like liquid. Vegetable glycerine is widely used in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, for example in food as a sweetener or to keep cakes moist. Vegetable glycerine is added to E-liquid to produce the dense vapour clouds we love so much. Lion Labs uses VG of the highest quality certified to be 99.7% pure USP pharmaceutical grade (United States Pharmacopeia).

Propylene Glycol.jpg

Propylene Glycol

Otherwise known by the vaping community as PG, propylene glycol is a synthetic organic compound with the chemical formula C3H8O2, making it technically an alcohol. Like VG, PG is also clear and odourless but with a more subtle sweetness. Along with E-Liquid, PG is used for personal care products, ice cream, coffee based drinks, dairy products and soft drinks. PG is an important component that helps carry the flavour in E-Liquid. It produces less visible vapour clouds and provides the soft throat hit that helps replicate the feeling of smoking. You might notice when vaping a high PG E-Liquid that you get a sharper throat hit. The best thing about PG is that it carries flavour, almost all of the flavour concentrates come diluted in PG for this reason. Lion Labs uses 99.8% pure USP grade propylene glycol in all its E-Liquid.


Flavour concentrates/additives

E-Liquid manufacturers use food grade, FDA approved, European Commission approved or equivalent flavourings when making E-Liquid. Flavour concentrates can be natural or artificial, they are the ingredient with the most uncertainty because there are so many different types. It is important to understand the compounds used in flavours and use trusted components in the manufacturing of E-Liquids or vape juice.

An example of an additive with concerns is butter flavouring, which contains diacetyl. This compound is used in popcorn flavouring and is harmless when eaten, but when inhaled all-day every-day by popcorn factory workers it is a health risk. Popcorn-lung (or bronchiolitis obliterans) is a real health issue, however it is a condition that has never been reported by a single vaper from vaping. Regardless, flavours which contain diacetyl are not used by most manufacturers the world over, the EU even outlawed diacetyl from nicotine E-Liquids.

Lion Labs supplies white label flavour concentrates that are imported from the EU. Coming from the EU they benefit from having to comply with the strict E-Liquid regulations in that part of the world. We only supply flavours that have had Toxicological Risk Assessments undertaken to make sure they meet certain Health Criteria Values. This means they have been tested to comply with TPD (Tobacco Products Directive) regulations and all harmful compounds identified are removed before going to market. Emissions testing can be a headache for E-Liquid manufacturers but is most definitely a good thing for consumers. It is expensive, but it’s built confidence in the quality of E-Liquids in Europe where it has done a lot to combat the vacuous “we don’t know what’s in it” argument.


You will find nicotine in many E-Liquids and this is what makes vaping such an effective replacement for smoking tobacco cigarettes. Although, if you read the headlines you might think nicotine is a dangerous drug, it really is as harmless as caffeine when consumed in the low concentrations found in E-Liquids. Smoking causes cancer from breathing in combusted tobacco smoke and other harmful additives that make cigarettes burn faster. Nicotine is not a carcinogen and is not harmful when used responsibly. You can find nicotine in tomato, potato, eggplant (aubergine), and green peppers, but, nicotine used in E-Liquid manufacturing is still derived from the tobacco plant. Tobacco is grown all over the world from the USA to India to Zimbabwe. Lion Labs sources its liquid nicotine from the USA, Switzerland and the EU.

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New Zealand Government Endorses Vaping to Quit

The New Zealand Government launched an initiative to set the record straight about vaping and demonstrates how smokefree 2025 is achievable

The Ministry of Health — Manatū Hauora and the Health Promotion Agency/Te Hiringa Hauora have launched Vaping Facts, an initiative designed to dispel the myths and rumours surrounding vaping.

The website is written for the general public and provides clear and accurate information on the different types of vaping products available on the market. Importantly, this move gives a clear position of the status of vaping from the Government and dispels the misinformation around vaping safety.

The site is broken down into three sections:

1. Vaping facts - The vaping facts section gives clear evidence-based information on the known benefits of vaping E-Liquids as a smoking cessation tool. There is also general information around vaping including the various types of E-Liquid devices on the market.

On her Journey to quit smoking Kura talks to Professor Hayden McRobbie about vaping as an option to quit. (Credit to

2. Vaping vs smoking – This HPA demonstrates the benefits of switching from smoking tobacco to vaping E-Liquid. It covers information about nicotine consumption and the feel and costs & benefits of switching. The relative harm graph below (taken from the vaping facts site) shows that vaping is 95-98% less harmful than smoking – a fact made know by years of Public Health England research. This information is helpful for ex-smokers and for never-smokers that question those making the switch (we have all heard someone say “I hear vaping is worse for you than smoking”, which is, of course, wildly incorrect).

Relative harm from vaping.jpg

3. Vaping to quit smoking - Here the Government compares vaping to other ways of quitting smoking like nicotine replacement therapy, cold turkey and stop smoking medicines. Its outlines how you can keep the social side of smoking by vaping to quit and shows evidence that vaping is almost twice as effective for people trying to quit.

“E-cigarettes were more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine-replacement therapy, when both products were accompanied by behavioral support.” -   A Randomized Trial of E-Cigarettes versus Nicotine-Replacement Therapy

“E-cigarettes were more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine-replacement therapy, when both products were accompanied by behavioral support.” - A Randomized Trial of E-Cigarettes versus Nicotine-Replacement Therapy

Overall, this initiative from the Government is positive. It signals progress on regulatory compliance process in New Zealand. It also highlights the lack of quality assurance and E-Liquid manufacturing standards in the current state of the market.

The next step in the process is for proposed E-Liquid regulations to be released for consultation. Keep an eye on our site for our next update where we explore the lack of standards in the E-Liquid industry, what we can expect from vaping regulations and how this will impact vapers, E-Liquid retailers and E-Liquid manufacturers in New Zealand and Australia.

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A Short History of Vaping

All we have today in terms of Vaping can be traced back to one single visionary, Hon Lik a Chinese pharmacist and tinkerer. Hon was spurred on not only by his steady decline in health, but the fact he had seen his own father die early due to lung cancer he knew there had to be a solution. Hon started his quest in early 2003 and by 2006 had the worlds first smokeless cigarette that was ready to go to market. The first E-Cigarette was relatively simple: it contained a battery, a single cartridge which held the first coil and a mix of nicotine solution suspended in propylene glycol. No flavour was included in the first prototype as Hon deemed it unnecessary, oh how things have changed!

Whilst Hon’s E-Cigarette was revolutionary, like all good things it has improved over time. Box-mods, Mech-mods, Sub-Ohm, DTL, MTL, Salt NIC, Freebase and Squonking is one hell of a mouthful. The acronyms can seem intimidating to the first time vaper but they needn’t be, each device was developed to suit a certain type of E-liquid. This blog will take a look back at the evolution of E-liquid and subsequent Vaping devices.

The dark ages of vaping

The dark ages of vaping


Disposable E-Cigarretes (Cig-A-Likes)

Much like Edmund Hillary’s first climb was at his school playground todays high end vaping device had to start somewhere too. Sleek and modeled off a Tailor made Cigarette the first Cig-A-Likes were Slim and similar in shape and size to a conventional cigarette. Unfortunately, they were only single use with tiny battery capacity and once the E-liquid ran out you had to throw away the cartridge. It was unlikely the battery would last you longer than a day and carrying around the wall charger was hardly ideal.

The e-liquid range itself was very limited in flavour and cloud production. It wasn’t long before users demanded something better and their thirst for new technology meant both devices and their E-liquids simply had to evolve.

Gen 2: The first evolution

Gen 2: The first evolution


Due to the demand for new and wonderful flavours and variable nicotine strengths the next evolution in vape devices needed a refillable tank and replaceable coil.

Now that you could add any type of e-liquid into these devices a whole new subcategory of vendors would flourish. E-liquid manufacturing companies started to pop up all over the place. These new manufacturers started making e-liquids that had complex flavours, higher/lower nicotine strengths and even mixed up the PG/VG ratios.

Vaping had just become customisable, vapers could decide how much nicotine they needed, and in which flavour they liked to vape this with, not only that but they could also decide how much throat hit they wanted by adjusting the PG level!

A common myth with vaping is for first timers to choose their device first and then pick and e-liquid they like to go in it, this is absolutely the wrong way to do it! You need to choose an e-liquid that suits your vaping palate first and then find a device that will work well with your e-liquid. Too often vapers will buy the wrong device for the wrong e-liquid and end up back smoking their old reliable Port Royal pouch within the week.

There was already a thriving community of vendors who operated in a somewhat legal grey area, but in June 2018 a court case known as Ministry of Health v Philip Morris made it clear cut: vaping (and heat-not-burn tobacco products) were legal! Despite winning the case, Phillip Morris bowed out - citing uncertainties around the unregulated market. We should be proud of the first E-Liquid manufacturing companies in New Zealand. They took the pioneering steps to build the industry from the ground up and it has been a long road from 0 to over 200,000 vaping, ex-smokers at NO cost to the tax payer! Impending regulations will raise the standard in E-Liquid manufacturing, marketing and devices, the New Zealand Government is finally getting its act together to protect vapers and not demonise them.


E-liquid development has evolved rapidly in the last few years. Nicotine salts have surpassed flavour chasing and sub-ohm vaping as the most talked about breakthrough since Hon Lik puffed away on his first Cig-a-like. There is big future for all of these useful tools for ex-smokers to live healthier lifestyles.

Current legislation in some parts of the world associates E-Liquid with tobacco and this means sharing the same harsh penalties that tobacco smokers face. We need to break the association with tobacco smoking if we want vaping to come out of the shadows and into the limelight it deserves in the medical world. If you can help your vaping brothers and sisters around the world then do what you can, recommend flavours, devices, sign a petition, or even write a letter to your local politician if you live in one of these places.

The future of E-liquids in New Zealand will see a major change in the manufacturing standards. Vapers need to know the juice they are puffing on has been made in strict quality controlled conditions, simple things like batch tracking, clean production environments and emissions testing are on the horizon. Keep an eye out for the opportunity to submit your opinion on E-Liquids and vaping to the NZ Government when they formally announce the proposed regulations in late 2019.

It’s been less than two decades since Hon Liks first cloud and we have already achieved so much together, where do you see vaping going in the next two decades? Let us know in the comments below.