The interrupted debate continues in this video, where Ms. Salesa makes the case that Public Health has struggled with finding a method of quitting smoking that actually works. She goes on to point out some of the more obvious things that we are already well aware of (having been in the industry for years now). I mean, seriously obvious things, like “Nicotine is addictive, but not the most harmful chemical in cigarettes”.
NB. The commentary I provide in this post, is purely based on the video above, and does not reflect information that I am well aware is available to the Minister in question. Almost every statement I make here is based solely on my thoughts while watching the video, not the regulations contained in the Bill itself. I have read the Bill, and will spend more time reviewing it before I give an opinion on it.
She comes across as a little disingenuous and flat out misleading when it comes to some of her statements though. She seems to be ignorant (or at least uninformed), as she relies on her own personal experiences with family and friends, or the work of others (which I don’t think she fully understands) to build her case.
So where did she go off the (well trodden and well researched) rails?
- “…sufficient levels of nicotine, the addictive substance that is craved…” - no mention of all of the thousands of other chemical compounds that are much more addictive
- “…people would be able to inhale the nicotine they craved…” - again, doubling down on nicotine as the culprit for addiction
- “…trendy nicotine products…” - Does this ever end? Make her stop talking…
- “…we don’t want a new generation hooked on nicotine.” - Give it up… please…
- “…some vaping companies have demonstrated aggressive marketing to our young people…” - OH! I see. She’s referring to Juul. I know this, because she’s not cited any other sources for this information, and it’s the only relevant case that could actually support her argument. So how are they (Juul) marketing to our young people, considering that they don’t trade in New Zealand, and have no real presence here?
- “…nicotine is a highly addictive substance that companies have in the past, chosen to introduce to children…” - I’m noticing a trend here. Out of curiosity, what products in the last 40 years, have been introduced directly to children in a blatant attempt to get them hooked on nicotine?
- “…the practices nicotine companies engaged in (in the past)…” - I think she means ‘Tobacco Companies’. Nicotine companies barely advertise at all, let alone to kids. Hell, even Tobacco companies don’t advertise to kids anymore, and haven’t done so for decades. It is illegal to advertise cigarettes to children. But she knew that, right? Sounds to me like she’s building a straw man argument.
- “…a recent paper from Stanford University’s School of Medicine, found that Juul…” - Nailed it.
- “…I’ve seen Vaping advertising on TV…” - But no-one under the age of 50 actually watches TV…
- “With this Bill, we are acting to stop the sale of Vaping products to young people under the age of 18…” - No reputable vendor will sell to anyone under the age of 18. The vast majority already ask for ID, and have been self regulating for years.
- “…ban advertising [sic] to children and young people…” - We’re really focussing on this particular subject.
- “…restrict flavors like watermelon; cheery cola; berry appealing…” - Why restrict the flavors, if they’re not marketed to children in the first place? Vendors in New Zealand make a concerted effort to actively avoid marketing to children, but it is a well known fact that the variety of flavors is one of the major reasons that Vaping continues to help thousands of people quit smoking.
- “…require child resistant packaging…” - All eliquid manufacturers in NZ use Child Proof caps, and vendors sell hardware in shrink wrapped packaging. Again, this has been self imposed regulation.
- “…extend the current smoke-free areas legislation for tobacco, to vaping…” - So she seems to want ex-smokers, to be forced to stand around with current smokers. Potentially exposing Vapers to second-hand smoke, and the temptation and peer pressure associated with cigarette smoking… because, reasons?
- “…vaping products carry the same (addiction) risk (to children)” - Cite your sources, or GTFO
- “…vaping is becoming far too common, especially in schools…” - The research would disagree with her 1;2. Didn’t she just say that there was no epidemic in New Zealand?
- “At the heart of our regime is a notification system.” - The explanation provided of what this system involves, is absolutely obvious. What is notable, particularly because of its absence, is how this system will be implemented. Is there going to be an office that will accept submissions only by registered mail? Will they test on site? Will there be a list of approved ingredients? Who will make the decisions about what is safe and what is not? Who will be responsible for the decisions? How much will it cost? Where is the revenue for research and testing going to come from? Is there going to be an independent lab setup to accomplish the testing? What are the turn around times? Come on, this is ridiculous, if only for it’s complete lack of transparency. I listen to the words, but all I hear is “Tax Grab”
- “…regulating Vaping is not that simple.” - Yes it is. We’ve been doing the Governments job for them, for years. We’ve been doing it better than they could.
- “…this is a future proof regime.” - I don’t think regime means what she think it means. Please… stop using it.
- “…future governments can be swift in responding to emerging problems…” - The problems that have been clearly stated do not exist currently, and the research shows has yet to come to fruition?
- “…the ministry to follow up rapidly if there are any safety concerns.” - There seems to be another sticking point here. Yes there are concerns, but they are around personal safety, and the reasons for the issues are a lack of education. A Vaper needs to be aware of things like nicotine levels, battery safety and poisoning. They aren’t concerned that the flavor they’re puffing on may be contaminated. Why? Because Vendors in New Zealand are swift and ruthless with anyone who tries to offload faulty or contaminated products on their customers. Again, we do the governments job for them, better than they can.
- “…regulation on the maximum nicotine levels (contained in e-liquid).” - Really? Does the Government know the different requirements for every new Vaper trying to quit smoking? The social smoker, and the 3 pack a day smoker? Does the government keep records of all smokers, and how much they consume? Or is this something that Vendors are much better positioned to understand. I have a feeling it would be the latter over the former.
- “…this bill has elegantly…” - is she kidding? It’s not even in the same ballpark as elegant. It’s a mish-mash of cherry picked information, and half understood research, that seeks to regulate and gain all the benefits of revenue from the industry, while relegating Vapers to being shunned, just like smokers. It’s basically a stolen manuscript, that is being passed off as original, with a few tweaks to try and pull in some of that sweet sweet Vaping fetty for Big Gubment.
- “What I’ve learned through developing this Vape Bill…” - You didn’t develop it, you stole it from Nicky Wagner. This bill is essentially a poor re-wording of the orginial proposed by MP Wagner in mid 2018. The original is available here for comparison. So not only was it stolen, but it took 2 years, and untold amounts of money to plagiarize actual work, and pass it off as your own…
- “…our regime gives them (specialty Vape Stores) a role behind the counter on how to quit…” - Oh god. Stop with the buzz phrases, you’re not using them correctly. How to quit? We already know how this works, and the Government is coming to the party after the DJ has already left. We’ve been doing this longer, and have more experience than Government could hope to have. Back the fuck up.
- “…vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco.”
- “…it is a disruptive technology.”
- “…there is no epidemic in New Zealand.”
- “…prevent the sale on our beaches over summer…”
- “…if you do not currently smoke, do not take up Vaping.”
- “…if you are a smoker, then Vaping is substantially less harmful to you and your body…”
- “How we’ve accomplished this is to confer a greater set of rights and responsibilities onto R18 specialty Vape stores,”
- “…there are some very responsible Vaping retailers, particularly some of our specialist Vaping Shop owners.”
Holy shit, there is a ton to unpack there. It was almost painful to sit through, and to be completely honest, at about 7:30 I had to stop. She was coming back around to the “think of the children” point, and trying to hammer it home. I can only assume she was trying to win support with the sympathy vote. Fortunately, there are a few MP’s who won’t stand for that kind of thing, and are willing to call her out on it. This isn’t and shouldn’t be about the children. Yes, keep the children safe, but don’t potentially damage an entire industry because you don’t understand the research.
I found Ms. Salesa contradicted herself a little too often for me to take her very seriously. With statements like “There is no epidemic in New Zealand”, and then moments later saying “Vaping is becoming far too common, especially in schools.”
This is both contradictory, and a loaded statement. It implies that Vaping in general, is too common. But the point to make is that Vaping numbers are supposed to increase as the smoking rates decrease. That’s how quitting smoking via Vaping works. Conflating the rise in vaping with vaping in schools is misleading.
At this point, it’s not clear whether Ms. Salesa is for or against Vaping as either a recreational hobby, or as a tool to quit smoking. It makes me wonder how many alcohol drinkers would be pissed off if we restricted their favorite beverages to only a Rose Wine, and a Larger beer? No more white or red wine. No more Pilsner or Stout. No more Top Shelf, as the alcohol content would be regulated and far too high to meet the regulations.
Big Gubment knows best.