In an effort to diminish the rising trend of vaping among young people, the government has decided to take resolute action. The aim is to deter youth from getting lured into the habit, primarily by making certain changes in the availability and nature of vaping products.
The government plans to prohibit the opening of new vape shops near schools and Marae (Māori meeting grounds), places which are often frequented by the younger population. The intent is clear – to limit the accessibility of vaping products for minors.
Health Minister Ayesha Verrall expressed her concern over the growing number of young people taking up vaping. As a result, a new law is to be implemented by August this year, that will mandate all vaping devices sold in New Zealand to have removable or replaceable batteries.
This regulation is targeted at reducing the sale of cheap disposable vapes, which are exceedingly popular among young individuals. As we all know, proximity leads to affinity. By keeping vapes away from children and young people, the government hopes to curb the rising vaping trend among the youth.
A significant part of the new strategy is to outlaw enticing names like 'cotton candy' and 'strawberry jelly donut'. From August onwards, these flavourful names, which seem to accompany a vast array of products, will be banned. The new rules dictate that only generic names accurately describing the flavours, such as 'berry', can be used.
Verrall emphasised the challenge of maintaining a balance between deterring youth from vaping while ensuring that vapes remain available as a method to quit smoking. The new regulations are an extension of the protections introduced by the Labour Government in 2020. These included banning vape sales to under-18s and prohibiting vape advertising and sponsorship.
The government recognises that vaping has contributed to the drastic reduction in the number of New Zealanders smoking over the past few years. Indeed, the smoking rate today is half of what it was a decade ago. But it's crucial to ensure that the alternatives to tobacco are not as addictive, appealing, or readily available.
Green Party drug law reform spokesperson, Chlöe Swarbrick, has pointed out the significant environmental harm caused by disposable vapes. They are not only cheaper and more attractive to the younger generation, but they also contribute to environmental degradation due to their volatile materials.
According to Angela Lowe, principal of Newlands Intermediate School and president of the Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools, some confiscated disposable vapes from her school were titled "lychee razz" and "orange guava". It's easy to see why these 'delicious' smelling, vibrant-coloured vapes are so appealing to students.
The upcoming regulations propose a three-month lead-in time for disposable vapes and a six-month lead-in time for reusable vapes for product compliance. After these periods, any vaping products that don’t meet the new requirements will not be permitted to be sold. The government's objective is clear: they want to encourage young people to "live vape-free lives".
The move to outlaw 'enticing' vape flavour names like cotton candy is an affirmative step by the government to control the increasing vaping trend among young people. By limiting access to vaping products, especially in areas frequented by youth, and outlawing certain types of vapes, it aims to create a future where the appeal and easy availability of addictive substances, such as tobacco and vapes, are diminished.
What is the government's plan to reduce vaping among young people?
The government plans to ban enticing vape flavour names, restrict the sale of disposable vapes, and prohibit the opening of vape shops near schools and Marae.
What changes are being made to vaping devices?
From August, all vaping devices sold in New Zealand will need to have removable or replaceable batteries. They will also need to feature child safety mechanisms.
Why is the government banning enticing vape flavour names?
The government believes that flavour names such as 'cotton candy' and 'strawberry jelly donut' make vaping products more appealing to young people.
What role does vaping play in smoking rates?
Vaping has contributed significantly to the reduction of smoking rates in New Zealand over the past few years. However, the government aims to ensure that vaping itself doesn't become an addictive habit.
What is the environmental impact of disposable vapes?
Disposable vapes are made from volatile materials which pose a significant environmental risk. There is extensive evidence of these vapes causing harm by exploding in landfills and the natural environment.