Nicotine sold as a medicine,that is making claims to relieve symptoms or
prevent disease, comes under the Medicines Act, which places restrictions
on its availability. Very strict requirements are placed on safety and
efficacy before nicotine products are accepted as medicines. Nicotine sold
as nicotine replacement can be sold by doctor’s prescription (nasal
spray), by pharmacy only (inhaler), or by sale in any shop (patch, gum or lozenge).
(lifestyle, recreational) nicotine
Sold without making any such medicinal claims,
nicotine can no longer be sold as a diet supplement. Nicotine cannot be sold
under the Fair Trading Act, which merely requires the product is safe and
makes no false claims, because Medsafe has ruled
that as nicotine has a physiological effect, it is a medicine under the purview
of the Medicines Act. As of December 2007, no recreational nicotine products
or nicotine-containing non-medicinal cigarette substitutes were available
on the New Zealand
market. New products would have to become medicines, delaying market
We propose non-medicinal
nicotine be brought under the purview of the Smoke-free Environments Act.
Nicotine by itself does not incur the health risks
of smoking, apart from addiction, and therefore it should continue to
enjoy exemption from tobacco taxation.
Smokers don’t want to go to a white coat
pharmacist or doctor to “enjoy” nicotine without the smoke.
Non-medicinal nicotine can theoretically avoid the
high mark-ups applied to medicinal nicotine, and thus provide a more
affordable way for smokers to obtain nicotine when they quit smoking, and
for as long after as they wished.
No-one would wish nicotine addiction to become
widespread among young people. On the other hand, addiction to nicotine
is far less dangerous than addiction to smoking cigarettes. The cure for
that problem is to end cigarette sales. Minimal regulation of nicotine
may however, be useful. We propose that non-medicinal nicotine should:
be sold to those under 18 years of age.
be advertised except as a less dangerous or less costly alternative to
cigarettes; or as satisfying to smokers (if this is true), or as an aid
a warning label to warn of the risk of addiction.
and instructions should be aimed to minimize the risk of over-dose and
PROPOSED PACKET HEALTH WARNING
FOR NON-MEDICINAL NICOTINE
SmokeLess New Zealand proposes that Government amend the
Smoke-free Environments Act 2004 and the Smokefree
Environments Regulations 1999 to require all packets of non-medicinal
nicotine to carry this warning:
Nicotine is addictive. It does not carry the other risks
of cigarette smoking.