Vape-Free Kids to Present Petitions to Parliament
On Wednesday 16 August at 1pm, Vape-Free Kids NZ (VFK NZ), a grassroots group of parents, whānau and community members calling for urgent action to prevent harm to youth from vaping, will be presenting two petitions to Parliament.
Petition organiser Charlie Christie says the over 13,000 combined signatures collected across the two petitions over the last four months show the high level of concern Kiwis have about the alarming rate of youth vaping in New Zealand.
“Parents, whānau, teachers and health experts have all seen the awful toll that nicotine addiction is taking on rangatahi across the motu. Twenty percent of under 18s are now regular vapers, and it’s time for the government to push back against the vape manufacturers and retailers who are preying on our youth.”
VFK NZ spokesperson Charyl Robinson says, “The law changes that come into effect from October leave open loopholes that will continue to allow dairies and supermarkets to sell vapes right next door to our schools. On top of that, disposables with removable batteries will still be cheaply and easily accessible to children.”
The group is calling for more meaningful action to curb the growing issue of youth vaping in New Zealand, including but not limited to:
- Implementing plain (black and white) packaging with warnings on all vape products.
- Restricting flavour varieties as well as flavour names.
- A complete ban on cheap non-refillable/disposable vapes, including those with removable batteries.
- Lowering nicotine levels in vapes from 50mg to 20mg, in line with other countries
- Make vapes pharmacy only.
- Implement a sinking lid on all current specialist vape retailers (SVRs) located within 1-2km proximity of schools, marae, significant landmarks, playgrounds, and sports fields.
- Implement a sinking lid on all current “store within a store” models that expose young people to vapes, and make all current “store within a store” models into R18 stores with completely different businesses, staff and entrances.
- Stronger penalties that include losing a licence on breach of compliance, such as selling to minors, and more resources invested into enforcement officers.
- More investment into supporting schools, communities, parents, and rangatahi for education and vaping cessation.
Those who are concerned about youth vaping in New Zealand are invited to gather on Wednesday 16 August from 12.30pm, on the grounds of Parliament. The presentation will commence on the front lawn at 1pm where Dr Tracey McLellan, Chair of the Health Select Committee, will receive the petition.