The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation is disappointed by the new vaping regulations announced by the Government yesterday, saying they are inadequate to address the scale and seriousness of youth vaping in Aotearoa.

"While we are pleased that the Government is taking action to limit the availability and appeal of vaping to young people, these regulations are simply not strong enough to make a meaningful difference," says Foundation Chief Executive Letitia Harding.

The Foundation welcomed the Government's announcements around generic flavour names, mandatory child safety mechanisms and the decision that no new vape retailers will be allowed within 300 metres of schools or marae.

"This is good news for schools and marae who do not currently have vape retailers nearby, but unfortunately there are already many such retailers close to schools, marae and other community centres. This rule will make no difference to them, nor will it stop new vape retailers popping up elsewhere in the community," says Ms Harding.

The Foundation is also disappointed that the Government has ignored calls for an outright ban on disposable vapes. Instead, new rules will be introduced which mean all vapes must have removeable or replaceable batteries. This rule is intended to ‘limit’ the availability of disposables.

"A ban on disposables was one of the few things that both health advocates and vaping industry spokespeople could agree on as a good way to protect young people from vaping harm. Yet the Government has left the door open for disposables to remain on the market. We know that disposables with removeable batteries already exist, so it will only be a matter of time before the vaping industry create more of these products."

Ms Harding says it is difficult to understand why the Government isn’t taking a stronger stance on vaping. "Only this week the Director General of the World Health Organisation described vapes as a trap to recruit children, not as a credible form of tobacco harm reduction. Youth vaping is a significant health problem for young New Zealanders. We need bold measures if we want to make a meaningful difference, and these new rules are simply not bold enough," Ms Harding explains.

The Foundation is reiterating its call for a ban on non-refillable (disposable) vapes, a cap on specialist vape retailers and for the nicotine content of all vape products to be reduced to 20 mg/ml. It would also like to see greater restrictions on packaging and marketing, a ban on store front advertising and increased funding for support for rangatahi, and children as young as nine years old, now addicted to vaping.


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