Increasing vaping outlets near schools, playgrounds fueling rangatahi vaping

14 Mar, 2023 | Media Release

Health experts call for law changes to put in place no vape shop zones in children’s areas

A vape store has recently opened in Kopeopeo in Whakatāne, 350m from Whakatāne High School and just under 300m from primary school, St Joseph’s Catholic School.

Māori Women’s Welfare League Waiariki Area Representative Fiona Wiremu is astonished.

“How can a vape store be given a license to sell in Kopeopeo, an are with high needs deprivation, that is largely Māori, and has a lot of rangatahi and tamariki walking through?”

She is concerned that having vape stores near kura in a route traveled by rangatahi and tamariki make it more accessible and in time will become more normalized.

“It’s the addiction I am worried about because we are being given this alternative to smokes as the lesser of two evils. But we know any addition is harmful and I am worried about the effects on our rangatahi and tamariki 10 or 15 years into the future.” 

In the Horowhenua town of Levin, a vape store sits across the road from Adventure Park, a well know and frequented family playground.

The store is called Adventure Vape, which Takiri Mai Te Ata Regional Stop Smoking Manager Catherine Manning says is clearly marketing towards tamariki and rangatahi who visit the park. 

“Vape stores are deliberately, maliciously, creating spaces that attract addiction for our tamariki and rangatahi.” 

For Ms Manning, the issue is about protection of our whakapapa and hā. 

“When we want to pōwhiri or whakatau someone into our environments, as part of our customary practice, we hariru and we share hā. Smoking and vaping changes the wairua and intent of what we’re sharing.

“We need to protect our whakapapa, and that means ensuring our rangatahi and tamariki aren’t isolated and treated differently in discussions on auahi kore. We need to start seriously interrupting how they’re being targeted by the Tobacco and vaping industry. Our goal was always focused on elimination of harm for our people and these products are harmful.” 

Andrew Waa, Associate Professor Eru Pomare Māori Health Research Centre and Co-Director ASPIRE2025, says there’s been increases in vaping amongst all young people but particularly rangatahi Maori, who’ve seen daily vaping rates increase 10 – 20 per cent. He says this goes against the stated purpose of vapes.

“The pathway from trying it to being addicted is much faster than cigarettes.

“If we want vaping to be a cessation device, the most logical way is to only offer it to those who’re quitting smoking so rangatahi don’t get access.” 

HCA is calling for the vaping regulations to include a prohibition of new vaping stores around schools, parks, playgrounds and other children’s settings, while also revoking licensing for existing stores in these areas. HCA will be submitting proposals for the Smoked Tobacco Regulatory Regime. Submissions close 5.00 pm, Wednesday 15 March 2023.

Smokefree repeal must get Parliamentary scrutiny

Today, Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA), the Council of Medical Colleges in New Zealand (CMC), and Te Ohu Rata O Aotearoa – Māori Medical Practitioners Association are calling on the Government not to repeal the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked...

Govt allies play down smoking harm, back repeal

The Government is preparing to repeal new Smokefree measures that would rapidly save thousands of lives, a move that has widely been condemned by national and international health experts. Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) is therefore disappointed to see the Action on...

Scrapping Te Aka Whai Ora – major threat to Māori health

The disestablishment of Te Aka Whai Ora – the Māori Health Authority - as proposed by the National, ACT and NZ First parties, poses a grave threat to the health and wellbeing of tangata whenua. Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) calls on all parties to retain Te Aka Whai...

Free under-30s dental care fills gap but more needed

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) welcomes Labour’s proposed policy to reduce the burden of dental disease in Aotearoa - but says more preventative action is needed to address the causes of tooth decay. Provision of free dental care for the under-30s, will help correct...

Alcohol bill step in right direction to reduce harm

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) commends the Government's passing of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Community Participation) Amendment Bill yesterday. While there is still much more to be done to reduce alcohol harm in this country, this is a step in the right...

Stronger youth vaping measures welcomed

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) welcomes Labour’s stronger proposed measures to address the serious problem of vaping among our tamariki and rangatahi. Labour’s policy announced today included capping all vape stores to 600 nation-wide, a requirement for all retailers...

‘We have failed our mokopuna’

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) stands in solidarity with the parents’ movement Vape-Free Kids and their petitions calling on the Government to protect children from vaping addiction. Vape-Free Kids NZ are handing over their petitions to Dr Tracey McLellan, Chair of...