Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) member councils have passed a remit, proposed by Kaipara District Council, calling on the Government to limit the retail availability of vapes to specialist stores and include proximity restrictions in this year’s round of amendments.
The Councils want vaping products to only be sold at specialist R18 retailers to curb the rise in youth vaping.
“New Zealand was late to the party passing laws regulating the sale of vape products and that’s left our communities playing catch up,” says LGNZ President, Stuart Crosby.
“Between 2018 and 2021, daily vaping rose from 2% to nearly 10% amongst 14–15-year-olds. We can’t afford this trend to continue.
“While we support the supply of vapes to people wanting to stop smoking, we don’t want to see young people who have never smoked in their life taking it up. That means we must stop vapes from being so readily available in our dairies, supermarkets and service stations.”
Mr Crosby said Councils played a major role in promoting the wellbeing of their communities. Concerns around youth vaping is one issue Mayors and councillors hear about time and time again from worried parents, he said.
“We welcome the recent changes that include restrictions around the sale of vapes and advertising and sponsorship but vapes are still available in too many places in our communities.”
“The amendments that came into effect over the past two years do not include measures that prevent retailers from being within a stone’s throw of each other, or from schools for that matter,” Mr Crosby said.
“Without these measures in place, we could end up with more situations like the one in Dargaville, whose main street has 13 places where people can buy vapes. This includes three specialist vape stores within 150 metres of each other,” said Kaipara Mayor, Dr Jason Smith.
“As the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill is before select committee, now’s the time to take the opportunity to future proof the health of the next generation,” the Mayor said.