March 15, 2023
Vape industry called out for targeting rangatahi
In a submission on the Smoked Tobacco Regulatory Regime, Health Coalition Aotearoa is calling for action against a proliferation of vape stores targeting rangatahi.
Coalition member and Māori Women’s Welfare League Waiariki representative Fiona Wiremu says a vape store has recently opened in the largely Maori area of Kopeopeo in Whakatāne, 350m from Whakatāne High School and just under 300m from a primary school.
She says having vape stores near kura in a route travelled by rangatahi and tamariki makes it more accessible and in time will become more normalised.
Dr Andrew Waa from the Eru Pomare Māori Health Research Centre says daily vaping rates among rangatahi Maori have increased 10 to 20 per cent in recent times, and the pathway from trying it to being addicted is much faster than cigarettes.
He says if vaping is to be justified as a cessation device, it should only be offered to those who’s quitting smoking so rangatahi don’t get access.
Health Coalition Aotearoa is calling for the vaping regulations to include a prohibition of new vaping stores around schools, parks, playgrounds and other children’s settings, while also revoking licensing for existing stores in these areas.
Submissions on the Smoked Tobacco Regulatory Regime close today.