Vaping products are now being sold on pharmacy shelves throughout New Zealand. Vaping company Vapix, which is branded as a health product, is now being sold in Unichem and Life Pharmacy stores around the country. The product is only available to those older than 18 and is marketed at smokers, encouraging them to “make the switch”.
Vapix is a sub-brand of Kiwi vaping company Alt New Zealand, co-founded by Ben Pryor and Jonathan Devery, according to a story on nzherald.co.nz.
The pair of entrepreneurs say that the arrival of the Vapix brand in pharmacies is only the start of an ongoing investigation into how vaping can be used to administer a range of natural medicines.
Last year, the pair registered the company Myriad Pharmaceuticals specifically with the goal of looking into medicinal applications for vaping, according to the story.
Marie Bennett, the owner of Unichem All Seasons Pharmacy in West Auckland, said the decision to stock vaping products came about from customers requesting the products as a means to quit smoking.
“As the Ministry of Health makes clear, vaping is an effective tool to support smokers to quit tobacco and it is less harmful than smoking,” Bennett said, according to the story.
Bennett added she is pleased to be able to offer smokers an option to help them quit.
The decision by pharmacies to start stocking vaping products comes off the back of comments by Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa that regulations of the vaping industry are imminent.
Among those proposed regulations are limits on nicotine levels and a ban on flavors. There have also been further suggestions that the advertising of vaping products may be prohibited, according to the story.
This has led to the vaping industry setting aside their differences to form the Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ) to lobby against the possibility of over-regulation.
While vaping is viewed as a safer alternative to smoking, there are growing concerns about the impact e-cigarettes could have on users.
There have been numerous reports out of the US recently, which have linked THC vaping to a deadly lung disease.
The concerns around this have led the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend people don’t vape at all.
India has gone a step further by banning vaping entirely, according to the story.
There is, however, still international support for the vaping industry in the United Kingdom, where Public Health England has stood by its position that vaping carries a small fraction of the risk of smoking.
The question now is which way New Zealand will lean once local regulations are passed, according to the story.