Monday, 2 March 2020

Attorney-General: Vape ad ban an unjustifiable restriction on free speech


“The Government’s crackdown on vaping is not only a danger to public health, it will also undermine freedom of expression”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Attorney-General David Parker has tabled a section 7 report in Parliament arguing that the Government’s prohibition on vaping ads is an unjustifiable restriction on the right to freedom of expression in the Bill of Rights Act.

When proposed legislation is inconsistent with the rights and freedoms in the Bill of Rights Act, the Attorney-General must bring this to the attention of Parliament.

“David Parker is saying what ACT has long maintained. The Government’s blanket ban on vaping ads is disproportionate to the actual risks of vaping.

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen countless examples of the slow erosion of New Zealanders’ basic rights and freedoms, and now the Government’s top lawyer has confirmed another case.

“The available evidence says vaping is about 95 percent safer than tobacco. A prohibition on vaping advertisements treats a product that is much safer than tobacco as if it were just as dangerous. It makes absolutely no sense.

“Adult smokers need to know there are far less harmful alternatives available. A ban on advertising does nothing to encourage people to make the switch from tobacco to less-harmful alternatives.

“In light of the Attorney-General’s report, the Government must reconsider its approach in order to protect both public health and freedom of expression.”