The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ has launched a campaign for the holiday season to encourage youth to swap their vape for outdoor adventures by snapping photos and sharing them on social media.
Foundation Chief Executive, Letitia Harding says, “nature’s buzz doesn’t come in a pod, so we want to encourage our rangatahi to embrace the real calm of the outdoors”.
“Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or not, we want to see youth breaking free from the habit and enjoying what summer has to offer – beach, sun and good vibes.
“It’s a time to enjoy the summer season, prioritise well-being, and escape the vape,” she said.
New figures released last week showed the number of 15 and 17-year-olds vaping every day had almost doubled in the past year – a figure the Foundation says is deeply concerning.
“This is why we need to do more,” Ms Harding says.
“We need to educate our rangatahi that there are better things to be doing with their time and that’s what we hope this campaign will encourage.”
New vaping laws coming into effect later this week will, hopefully, also help with the Foundation’s efforts to address the youth vaping epidemic, she said.
From Thursday, it will be illegal for vape retailers to sell disposable vapes that contain more than 20mg/mL of nicotine, don’t have a removable battery, a child safety mechanism, or comply with new labelling requirements.
“We have been strongly advocating for years to lower the nicotine level to 20mg/mL, so it is good to have this limit in place in time for the holiday season,” said Ms Harding.
The Foundation would like to see a ban on all disposable vapes (including those with removable batteries), no more Specialist Vape Retailers set up, support for the Foundation’s vaping harm education programme for rangatahi, a nicotine content limit of 20 mg/mL for all vape products, a ban on all front-of-store advertising and displays of vaping products, and another look at the prescription model.