Curiously, this is not actually the case. While cigarettes, which deliver nicotine for inhalation and are clearly hazardous to public health, remain legal to sell, e-cigarettes containing just nicotine and no toxic levels of any chemicals are banned for sale there.
"It's a start but there's a way to go before, really, there's going to be enough information for us to know about how safe these products are and how effective they are," said Dr. Stewart Jessamine about e-cigarettes.
Dr. Stewart seems to have forgotten that smoking "is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand, accounting for around 4300 to 4600 deaths per year." These 4600 smokers obviously could not or would not quit using Medsafe-approved "nicotine medicine" products and will continue to smoke, so why is Medsafe not fast-tracking the research and approval of a product which contains just 3 low-risk main ingredients: nicotine, propylene glycol and food flavoring? A product which has been on the market - world-wide - for several years without any reported serious adverse affects or deaths? How "safe and effective" do they need to be proven to try to prevent those 4300 to 4600 annual smoking-related deaths? How long is "a way to go" to get the information they need? One year? Two years? Or rather just 4600 more deaths? Just 9200 more deaths?
The good news from the article is the study being done by Dr. Chris Bullen at Auckland University, which will hopefully contribute to the reversal of not only Medsafe's e-cigarette policy, but other irresponsible e-cigarette sale bans currently in place around the world.
“We are going to recruit 650 people in New Zealand for this trial, so we think at the end of this study, the evidence will suggest one way or the other, do they help people quit smoking,” said Bullen.
The news piece also included little-publicized information about New Zealand anti-smoking campaigner Dr. Murray Laugesen, who has completed his own tests on e-cigarettes and is convinced that they cause less harm than traditional cigarettes.