Over 250,000 New Zealanders vape daily, many of whom have never smoked before. And in five years, the proportion of year 10 students who vape regularly has tripled, now at 18%.
Despite the Government’s recent changes to vaping regulations, Dr Nina Su, TOP’s Health Spokesperson and Candidate for Epsom, doesn’t believe these changes go far enough.
“Vaping is a hidden epidemic that we have the opportunity to take back control of, before it's too late. We didn't act fast enough with tobacco and we ended up with a decades long problem we are still trying to fix.
“Stronger, common-sense regulation around vaping is a matter of public health priority. The successes of the smoke-free movement largely came from social change to make smoking less attractive as well as providing support for people to quit.” says Dr Nina Su.
The petition launched by The Opportunities Party calls for five key changes:
- Restrict the sale of vapes to pharmacies.
- Require plain packaging for vapes.
- Require vape packets to be hidden from the public.
- Limit the flavours of vapes that are available.
- Increase funding for vaping cessation programs.
“These measures would make it more difficult for young people to get their hands on vapes, and would make them less appealing," said Dr Su. "We also need to invest in helping people who are addicted to vaping to quit."
The petition is open for signatures at www.top.org.nz/vaping
"We urge everyone to sign the petition and join us in calling for tougher anti-vaping laws. The health of our children and our future depends on it.” said Dr Su.