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Viewpoint | Potential new regulatory options for e-cigarettes in New Zealand

This viewpoint article on regulatory options for e-cigarettes, written by researchers from ASPIRE2025 and BODE3 , has been published in the New Zealand Medical Journal.


While e-cigarette usage has grown rapidly in New Zealand and around the world, the scientific evidence base regarding the net benefits and risks of these types of products at the population level remains uncertain. The health-based policy experience is also minimal. Here, we analyse plausible future regulatory options for e-cigarettes that the New Zealand Government could explore, and that further research could help clarify. These options include: (1) a full free market (an option we doubt is desirable for multiple reasons); (2) controlled increased access through: (a) pharmacy only, (b) pharmacy only plus sales by prescription/to licensed vapers; (c) additional controls through non-profit supply/distribution (eg, public hospital pharmacies); (3) increased restrictions compared with current (eg, adopting a complete ban on self-imports and use). In addition, we consider mechanisms to improve product quality and safety, and argue that policy makers should take great care when regulating e-cigarettes, given the scientific uncertainty and the role of commercial vested interests.


Wilson, N., Edwards, R., Hoek, J., Thomson, G., Blakely, T., van der Deen, F.S., Caldwell, B., Crane, J. (2015) Potential new regulatory options for e-cigarettes in New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal Vol 128 (1425 )

The article can be viewed here in the New Zealand Medical Journal (Note password access is required until June 2016)

For more information or to request a copy of the article, please contact:

Nick Wilson
University of Otago, Wellington

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