INDEPENDENT NEWS

Youth Want Tighter Vaping Controls

Published: Wed 12 Jun 2024 02:17 PM
School children want vapes to be harder to buy, less prolific and more expensive.
Feedback from vaping education workshops, run by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, offers insight into how students want the youth vaping epidemic addressed.
Common responses include stopping the sale of vapes in dairies, petrol stations and supermarkets, banning shop displays, raising the price of vapes, having a prescription-only model, and plain packaging.
Foundation Māori Community Liaison Ms Sharon Pihema says most of the solutions offered by students echoed calls from the Foundation to the Government to address this evolving problem.
"Rangatahi are being exposed to vapes at a rapid rate - and the age of exposure is getting younger and younger.
"For most of the children I educate in schools, vapes are part of their life - either at home or at school," she says.
"It’s more surprising to hear that a student hasn’t tried vaping, than it is to hear they have."
Students also believe the vaping industry is deliberating targeting teenagers and children, and they want to see more action from the Government.
The Foundation’s two vaping educators have conducted 150 vaping education workshops across the motu - with another 160 workshops planned for the remainder of the year.
Foundation Chief Executive Ms Letitia Harding says the workshops are a way to interact with students and hear from them as to what the realities are when it comes to vaping.
"The voices of our young people are clear and compelling - they are asking for immediate action to curb the availability and appeal of vaping.
"The Government may not want to listen to us, but perhaps they will listen to those who are directly affected by this epidemic," she says.
"Their suggestions, such as looking at a prescription-only model and implementing plain packaging, are practical and necessary steps."
The Foundation wants the Government to halt the establishment of further Specialist Vape Retailers (SVRs), support the Foundation’s vaping harm education workshop programme for rangatahi, limit the nicotine content of all vape products to 20 mg/mL, ban all front-of-store advertising and displays of vaping products, and re-look at the prescription model.

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