New Zealand Takes Action to Curb Youth Vaping
The New Zealand government has announced new regulations to limit youth access and appeal of vaping products. The rules come into effect on September 21, 2022, according to Health Minister Ayesha Verrall.
Safety and Location Restrictions
A key change is that all vapes sold in New Zealand must have Removable Batteries. This makes devices safer and less prone to overheating and fire risk. Additionally, new vape shops cannot open within 300 meters of schools or marae. This creates a buffer to limit youth exposure to vaping.
Limits on Flavors and Nicotine
The regulations also crack down on flavors and nicotine levels. Flavors with youth appeal like cotton candy and strawberry jelly donut will be prohibited. Only generic flavor names like orange or berry will be allowed. Nicotine concentrations are capped at 20mg/mL for disposable vapes and 28.5mg/mL for reusable vapes. The goals are reducing appeal to youth and addiction risk.
Ongoing Monitoring of Impacts
According to Minister Verrall, the impacts of the vaping regulations will continue to be monitored. Further action may be taken to restrict youth access if needed. The aim is to retain vaping as a smoking cessation tool while preventing uptake by youth. A future free of addictive, appealing tobacco and vape products is the ultimate goal.
The New Zealand government’s action represents a comprehensive effort to strike a balance. With sensible restrictions on marketing, flavors, nicotine and access, youth vaping rates could fall. Adult smokers may still get support to quit through appropriately regulated vaping products. Continued review will reveal if the measures have the desired effect or if tighter rules become necessary. For now, the regulations seem a reasonable step to curb the risks of youth vaping.
(With Inputs from New Zealand Government Press Release)