Wānaka Sun       

The vaping creep

Posted at 10:30am Friday 20 Aug, 2021 | By Lauren Prebble journalist@thewanakasun.co.nz

Vaping has been “creeping” into the school yard at Mount Aspiring College. School Principal Nicola Jacobsen says she has dealt with cases where vapes have been confiscated from students-and adults were shocked to find their students were using vapes. A bill to regulate vape products came into effect last Wednesday and it aims to limit the sale of nicotine flavoured vape refills to specialised stores-but critics say it's a tepid action against a growing vape epidemic among youth. The Wānaka Sun understands the closest specialised retailers dealing in the product is in Queenstown and Alexandra but youths with an R18 license were able to purchase a selection of flavours at general stores. Under the new law, liquor stores, supermarkets and dairies are restricted to stock only three flavours Mint, Menthol and Tobacco. The bill “strikes a balance between ensuring these products are not marketed or sold to young people, while ensuring vaping products are available for smokers who want to switch to a less harmful alternative,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said. Vaping is advanced as an option to wean smokers of tobacco, but it is seen in the education sector as an introduction to addiction for teenagers. Nicola Jacobsen believes there is‘ misinformation' from the Ministry of Health around the messaging that vaping is better than smoking. “If the government is serious about New Zealand becoming Smoke free, then legislation to stop the selling of smoking and vaping products needs to be reviewed to ensure that young people are protected,” she said. “Some young people take risks in terms of their behaviour, and one of those risks might be vaping,” she said. While there has been an increase in vaping amongst teens, she doesn't believe the school has a vaping culture.

 

The government aims to ban vaping in cars carrying children by November and looks to tackle packaging by February 2022.

 

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