Labour will crack down on youth vaping if re-elected

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Aug 21, 2023 |

The Labour Party will crack down on youth vaping if re-elected, capping the number of vape stores nationwide to 600 and ramping up the penalties for those who sell to underage people, Leader Chris Hipkins has announced.

 “The recent increase in youth vaping is unacceptable. Those who produce and sell vapes are clearly targeting our kids, especially in low socio-economic areas, and Labour is taking action to stop that.

 “Earlier this year the Labour Government announced we would effectively ban disposable vapes, stop new vape shops from opening near schools and marae and restrict the number of flavours.

“We have also banned the sale of vapes to under-18s and prohibited vape advertising and sponsorship.

“However it’s clear more needs to be done. Vapes are far too widely available so tougher measures are now needed.

 “If re-elected we will cap the number of stores vapes can be sold in to 600 nationwide – significantly reducing the number by more than half.

 “In addition all retailers, including dairies, must obtain a license to sell vaping products.

 “The licencing regime will both be able to reduce the number of outlets that sell vapes and also ensure there aren’t clusters of vape stores targeting schools or low socio-economic communities.

 “We have already made it illegal to sell vapes to anyone under 18. But the ongoing uptake suggests the current penalties are not a strong enough deterrent.

A Labour Government will increase penalties to adults who supply vape products to underaged children by 100%, from up to $5,000, to up to $10,000.

It will increase penalties for retailers found to be selling vaping products to underage children from up to $10,000, to up to $15,000.

 “The way vape retailers are targeting young New Zealanders and our poorer communities must stop.

Combined with measures already announced this plan can help stamp out youth vaping,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Our plan to decrease smoking is working, with smoking rates plummeting to their lowest levels ever,” Labour Health Spokesperson Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

“Vaping has been an important tool to assist adult smokers to give up, however we have seen the number of young people vaping daily more than triple between 2019-2021.

“In the same way we are stamping out smoking, this plan can make a real difference to stop vaping.

 “The next stage in our plan is targeted at limiting the supply of vapes. We have seen the explosion of vape retailers in recent years. A licencing regime will stop any new stores opening and will allow us to spread the number of stores across the country.

“We know public health messaging is effective and can help educate young people on the true harms of vaping. We will build on the Protect Your Breath campaign to combat misinformation and disinformation about the reality of vaping.

“We will also look to make vape products less visible from the store front, in the same way we have with tobacco.

“I want to ensure all young New Zealanders can be smoke and vape free in order to live healthy lives,” Ayesha Verrall said.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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