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Vape-Free Kids Demands Justice After Retailer Who Sold Vapes To Minors Flees NZ Ahead Of Court Proceedings

Vape-Free Kids NZ is appalled by the continual lack of consequences to retailers found to be selling vapes to under 18s.

The last Asthma & Respiratory Foundation study on youth vaping found that 50.4% of secondary school students sourced vapes from dairies. However, the lack of enforcement officers has meant almost no cases have been brought to court, reinforcing to retailers that they can continue to sell to minors without fear of any consequences.

Today, a Christchurch retailer who was scheduled to appear in court for selling vapes to children, was found to have fled the country ahead of proceedings.

Vape-Free Kids NZ co-founder Anna Stewart says, “after being witness to the court proceedings today, I left with emotions that fall somewhere between heartbreak and devastation. In essence, Mr. He has been permitted to simply turn around and leave NZ, without facing any consequences for his actions.”

“We have enough evidence to know there are far too many stores selling to young people already, but with consequences like these, how are we to protect our children?”

“Today, I had hoped to return a vape which he’d sold my child, and tell him that at last he might share in the cost of his actions. Unfortunately I left with it still in my hand, and more questions than answers. What can be done, and who will step up and do it, to stop this from happening again?”

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Despite the government promising to increase maximum fines for retailers found selling vapes to under 18s, this remains an empty threat which will have no impact on reducing vape availability to children, unless there are enough officers to enforce the law, and ways to prevent violators from escaping prosecution.

Vape-Free Kids NZ also continues to call for the government to deliver their pre-election promise of lowering the total number of vape retailers, from the current figure of more than 7,500, to under 600.

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