Improve Vaping Policies in Aotearoa New Zealand to Protect Youth
In New Zealand and around the world, vaping has become a prevalent issue amongst young people. Vape products were first introduced by tobacco companies as a tool for people to quit smoking, but quickly vape products became clearly marketed toward youth with their sleek designs and enticing flavours. While vaping is safer than smoking to our current understanding, there is still very little knowledge about what effect the chemicals that are produced in vapes have on our lungs, so potentially the biggest risks are the unknown risks. We do not want to be dealing with serious lung diseases 5-10 years in the future.
Many people don't know that most vapes also contain nicotine - generally greater nicotine levels than the average cigarette, which makes them highly addictive. Vapes contain up to 50mg of nicotine whereas cigarettes contain approximately 10-12mg. While some nicotine content is ideal for smokers using vapes to quit smoking, it is concerning that so many youth are becoming addicted to nicotine when they would otherwise have never tried smoking. In a survey carried out by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand (ARFNZ) in 2021, 86% of students who were vaping more than once a day reported that they were addicted to vaping and 57% felt that it was having a harmful effect on their health. There have also been instances of young people wanting to stop vaping, having to go through nicotine withdrawal, and missing school as a result.
Because of the adverse effect that nicotine in vape products is having on young people, there needs to be a policy change about the nicotine content in vapes. The Government in Queensland, Australia, have introduced a law making electronic cigarette products (vapes) containing nicotine illegal unless on prescription and supplied by a pharmacist or through Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) processes. A regulation like this needs to be implemented Aotearoa to help stop young people from becoming addicted to vaping and dealing with the health implications that come with it.
It is also concerning how many vape stores there are in communities, some in very close proximity to schools, making vapes extremely accessible to young people. The number of vape stores needs to be cut down. While there is currently a policy that makes it illegal to sell vape products to people under 18-years-old, this needs to be more strongly regulated, as some of these stores still do not check ID. It is also extremely easy to get into online vape stores and purchase products as a person who is under 18, with just the click of a button confirming that 'Yes, I am 18.'
Summary of what needs to be done:
1. Eliminate nicotine from general vapes, making vapes that contain nicotine only available through prescription via a GP or pharmacy.
2. Decrease the number of vape stores in our communities.
3. Stronger regulations for checking ID in physical and online stores.
Please sign this petition to help influence policy regarding vaping in Aotearoa, and keep young people in our country from ‘getting sucked in’. This is an anonymous petition and the information gathered will be used in confidence as part of a Level 3 Social Studies assessment. The assessment focuses on influencing the above vaping policies in New Zealand Aotearoa.
All proceedings from this petition will be sent to Parliament.
For more information on vaping and vaping laws in New Zealand, please see the following sites:
Hayley, senior at NPGHS Contact the author of the petition