A prescription-only model and dedicated quit vaping support services should be a priority of the incoming Government and new Health Minister.
This is the call from Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ who are strong advocates for tighter controls around vaping to help tackle the youth vaping epidemic in New Zealand.
Foundation Chief Executive Ms Letitia Harding says the new Government has an opportunity to make some strong, bold moves to support rangatahi who are now addicted to vaping, and to prevent further uptake of vaping in youth.
Sharon Pihema, the Foundation’s only Āpiha Takawaenga Māori (Māori Community Liaison), currently offers youth vaping education workshops and resources to schools around the country, and the demand is huge.
Ms Pihema says students, teachers and families are crying out for help, and she already has 126 youth vaping education workshops booked in kura/schools over the next two terms.
“Schools have been struggling with this problem for nearly five years now, and are trying to provide education and support, while also managing negative behaviour and absences due to vaping.
“It is so sad to hear of tamariki as young as 10 years old now addicted to vaping, which shows just how bad the epidemic is.”
Ms Harding says the Foundation wants to offer more vaping support workshops throughout the country, by bringing on another three full-time Āpiha Takawaenga Māori - a proposal that was turned down by Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora under the current Government.
“We can’t fight this epidemic alone. We need support and we are asking the incoming Government to back grassroots initiatives and value the work of NGOs.”
Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has publicly stated he would consider a prescription only model for vapes.
The Foundation is also calling on the new Government to ban all disposable vapes (including those with removable batteries) and to halt the establishment of any new Specialist Vape Retailers (SVRs) immediately.
20 September, 2023
While the new vaping laws are a step in the right direction, Government's efforts continue to fall short in addressing the escalating vaping crisis among our youth.
7 September, 2023
Children as young as 12 are now addicted to vaping and are being stood down from school, as the youth vaping epidemic worsens.
10 August, 2023
To protect our rangatahi, the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) and Life Education Trust NZ are calling for a complete stop to any more new Specialist Vape Retailers (SVRs) from setting up, and no front of store advertising or visibility of products.
22 August, 2023
Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand has been calling for tougher regulations to tackle our youth vaping epidemic since 2018. Letitia Harding, Chief Executive says, "it is great to hear that Labour recognises this is a major problem in Aotearoa and that they are willing to tackle it seriously"