Friday, May 24, 2024

Asthma foundation ignites calls for vaping addiction support

New Zealand’s Asthma and Respiratory Foundation says a prescription-only model and dedicated quit vaping support services should be a priority of the incoming Government and new Health Minister.

Foundation Chief Executive, 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,” she said.

“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.”

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.

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