New Zealand takes a decisive step in curbing youth vaping by announcing a prohibition on disposable vapes, Health Minister Ayesha Verrall stated. The ban, effective from August, aims to address the growing prevalence of vaping among young individuals, while also implementing stricter regulations on tobacco sales.
In an official statement, Minister Verrall expressed concern over the increasing number of young people engaging in vaping, prompting the government to take action. The ban specifically targets disposable vapes that lack removable or replaceable batteries.
To further restrict access, new vape shops will be prohibited from operating near schools or Maori meeting places known as marae. Additionally, the use of appealing names like “cotton candy” and “strawberry jelly donut” will be disallowed, replaced by generic alternatives such as “berry.”
Furthermore, Minister Verrall emphasized the importance of child safety by stipulating that vapes must incorporate a child-safety mechanism.
The government intends to strike a balance between preventing young individuals from initiating vaping habits while providing an option for smokers to use vapes as a means to quit smoking.
New Zealand’s previous measure to permanently make cigarettes unavailable to individuals under 14 years old, incrementally increasing the smoking age each year until full population coverage, aims to reduce smoking rates. Presently, the adult smoking rate in the country stands at a relatively low 8%.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins supports the new restrictions on vaping, citing concerns raised by parents, teachers, and principals about the establishment of lifelong detrimental habits among young people.
Recent studies indicate that nearly one in five school-aged teenagers in New Zealand vape daily, according to research conducted by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation in 2021.
The ban on disposable vapes in New Zealand follows similar actions taken by Australia, which accused tobacco companies of deliberately targeting teenagers to create a new generation of nicotine addicts.
While initially promoted as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes have proven to be highly addictive, leading many young users to transition to cigarette smoking for their nicotine fix. Ongoing research highlights the addictive nature of vapes and the potential risks associated with their use.