New Zealand to introduce new rules to crack down on youth vaping
New Zealand's new rules will be implemented by August, and all vaping devices without a removable or replaceable battery will be banned.
New Zealand has opted to adopt new rules to curb growing numbers of youth vaping. In its latest announcement, the government took the decision to ban most disposable vapes, and not allow new vape shops near schools.
Over the past five years, the number of teenagers vaping in New Zealand rose drastically, even though cigarette smoking dropped to its lowest-ever levels. New Zealand's smoking prevalence also dropped to 8%, one of the lowest in the world.
The number of teenagers who vaped daily tripled, from 3.1% in 2019 to 9.6% in 2021. "Too many young people are vaping, which is why we’re making a number of moves to stop that happening," Health Minister Dr. Ayesha Verrall said on Tuesday.
“We need to strike a balance between preventing young people from starting to vape, at the same time as having vapes available as a cessation tool for those who genuinely want to give up smoking.”
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The new rules will be implemented by August, and all vaping devices without a removable or replaceable battery will be banned. Verrall said that this move limits the sale of cheap disposable vapes that are very popular among young people.
She further stated that “we also want vapes as far from the minds and reach of children and young people as possible, so any locations within 300 meters of schools and marae [Māori meeting houses] will be off-limits for new shops."
After vapes were made widely available to teenagers in New Zealand, the government introduced reforms in 2020, which banned sales to under-18s, prohibited vapes at schools and early childhood centers, and also banned any kind of vape advertisement and sponsorship.
Countries, including Australia, took tougher steps on vaping, making them prescription-only, reducing nicotine content, restricting flavors, and introducing plain packaging. Verrall said that New Zealand had not taken harder-line steps because they intended to make it harder for those taking up vapes as a smoking cessation tool.
“New Zealand has some of the most ambitious tobacco control goals in the world,” she said. “I’m not saying vapes are good for you, but they’re far, far less harmful than tobacco.”
“We certainly hope it will stop and reverse the increase [of] young people vaping.”