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Youth Are Vaping So Why Are We Waiting?

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) supports the Cancer Society in their call for urgency to push the Government’s Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill through prior to the 2020 General Election.

Letitia Harding, Chief Executive, ARFNZ submitted, along with hundreds of others to the Health Select Committee during Covid-19 lockdown which saw the Bill recently move through to its second reading with some amendments.

"It is pivotal that this Bill passes before Parliament closes for the upcoming elections this September to help slow down the rapid uptake of youth vaping that we are seeing in our community," says Letitia, "We are running out of time to pass this legislation while schools are tackling the ever-increasing problem of youth vaping - feedback which we are hearing directly from schools themselves."

"While we know that e-cigarettes and e-liquids/vaping products contain fewer harmful chemicals than cigarette smoke, there is not enough data around the long-term use of these products to say that they can be inhaled without harm. These products should be discouraged in non-smoking youth and we hope that the advertising and marketing restrictions detailed in the legislation will address this issue."

The increased youth uptake of vaping is echoed in recent surveys with The Action for Smokefree 2025 (ASH) survey data finding that regular vaping in Year 10 students has increased between 2018 and 2019 - from 1,150 (4%) to 3,282 (12%) in 14-15 year-olds.

Another recent New Zealand survey - Youth19 in the Youth2000 series - which looked at vaping in secondary school students of all ages, found that two-thirds (65%) of students who had ever tried a vape, and nearly half (48%) of regular vapers, had never smoked cigarettes.

"This data highlights that vaping seems to appeal to a wider range of young people than traditional smoking," says Letitia, "If we don’t impose regulations now, and current trends continue, we will have a whole new generational problem of nicotine-addicted young people."

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