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New Vaping And Smoking Policies A Step Forward, But More To Be Done

ProCare welcomes the recent announcement from the Ministry of Health on the new vaping policies in an effort to be smokefree by 2025 and curb youth vaping rates.

Many of the recommendations ProCare made in its submission on these policies have been actioned, however, there is still more to be done to make a real difference to youth vaping rates.

Bindi Norwell, ProCare Group CEO says: “It’s pleasing to see the Government listen to the advice ProCare and many other healthcare organisations gave as part of the ‘Proposals for the Smoked Tobacco Regulatory Regime’ earlier this year. We welcome new regulations that enforce tighter restrictions on the sale and supply of vapes, but believe more can and should be done to encourage our community to be vape and smokefree.”

While new policies such as the prohibition of new vape shops opening within 300m of a school or marae is a step in the right direction, if this issue is to be taken seriously then questions need to be asked on why existing retailers aren't impacted by this change.

Ready Steady Quit, ProCare’s smoking cessation service has seen first-hand the rise in popularity of vaping, especially in young people who have never smoked before.

Mihi Blair, Kaiwhakahaere Hauora Māori, Mana Taurite (GM of Māori Health and Equity) at ProCare says: “Vaping was a key theme at our recent Youth Health Forum where our rangatahi expressed their concern about the increased accessibility of vape products in their communities. Rangatahi also noted that vaping and other substances is used as a coping mechanism.

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“By having a product that is accessible and flavours that are labelled as fun and glamourous, it encourages rangatahi to use them. We are pleased to see that going forward there will be tighter restrictions on the naming of vape flavours to try curb the appeal to young people,” continues Blair.

ProCare looks forward to working with regulatory bodies to find the balance to ensure that adequate smoking cessation tools, such as vapes, are used for what it is intended for.

“While it’s positive that nicotine levels in single use vapes have been reduced, we need to educate our community, particularly our youth, on the importance of vapes only being used to assist people transitioning from smoked tobacco to smokefree, and with that phasing out to a vape-free Aotearoa,” concludes Blair.

ProCare will continue to advocate for a smokefree Aotearoa by 2025, and a white paper with the findings from Pou Tautoko Rangatahi – Youth Health Forum, will be shared in due course.

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