5 Jan 2023

Government seeking feedback on proposed measures to crack down on youth vaping

3:36 pm on 5 January 2023
A teenager smokes an e-cigarette.

The government says youth vaping rates are too high (File image). Photo: Unsplash

The government is asking for feedback on proposed measures to crack down on youth vaping.

These measures include new rules for packaging, flavour names, nicotine salt concentration and single-use product safety, as well as restrictions on the location of specialist vape shops.

Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said youth vaping was on the rise, with many choosing to vape despite never having smoked.

Labour MP Dr Ayesha Verrall

Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

"Alongside our efforts to reduce tobacco smoking, we want to ensure vaping products are safe, regulated and are only being used for cessation purposes as intended," she said.

"Vaping has a role to play in ensuring smokers who wish to quit smoking can do so using vaping products.

"However youth vaping rates are too high and we need to strike a better balance."

What's being proposed?

  • Location restrictions: new rules about where specialist vape shops can be located, so they are not near places like schools and sports grounds. This would not apply to general vape retailers like dairies and petrol stations, which are already limited to the sale of three vape flavours.
  • Flavour names: Restricting vape flavour names to reduce their attractiveness to young people. For example, flavour names like 'cotton candy' and 'gummy bears' may no longer be allowed, with a generic term 'candy' having to be used instead.
  • Packaging: Limiting vaping liquids and product packaging to a description of the product's flavour.

Requirements specifically for single-use/disposable vapes:

  • reduced concentration of nicotine salts from 50mg/mL to 35mg/mL (people can choose to use a lower concentration of nicotine in reuseable devices, but single-use devices have a fixed nicotine concentration)
  • including serial numbers so devices can be traced if there are safety concerns
  • a safety mechanism to stop children being able to use them.

The consultation document - Proposals for the Smoked Tobacco Regulatory Regime - also asks for feedback on proposals to heavily reduce the availability, appeal and addictiveness of tobacco.

Submissions are open to the public and close on 15 March.

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