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Budget Needs To Help Eradicate The Pest That Is Youth Vaping

The Government needs to support efforts to eradicate a persistent and pervasive pest - youth vaping.

This is the call from the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ for the upcoming Budget announcement on Wednesday.

Foundation Chief Executive Ms Letitia Harding says the previous government introduced vapes like stoats to get rid of rabbits.

"So it is time for the current Government to listen - truly listen - and help us to eradicate the pest that is youth vaping."

She hopes that the Budget will have funding for the Foundation to deliver more vaping education workshops across the country, Ms Harding says.

"Our vaping educators have visited hundreds of schools to help thousands of students understand the harms of vaping, with no funding from the Government."

The Foundation’s vaping educators have conducted 150 vaping education workshops across the motu - with another 160 workshops planned for the remainder of the year.

"This is a huge milestone, that unfortunately reflects the need in our community, which the Foundation has been delivering on," Ms Harding says.

"We met with the Ministry of Health seven years ago raising our concerns about youth vaping, then realising little was going to be done we quickly decided to get stuck in."

Foundation Māori Community Liaison Ms Sharon Pihema says she is inundated with requests to help schools combat the vaping culture in schools.

"Sadly, my job is getting busier and busier and we have now brought another educator on board.

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"This epidemic is plaguing classrooms and playgrounds, causing disruptions, and, numerous stand-downs each year."

Ms Pihema is now educating children as young as 8 on the harms of vaping.

"I never thought I’d see the day where I am talking to our tamariki about vaping, but here we are."

The Foundation wants the Government to halt the establishment of further Specialist Vape Retailers (SVRs), support the Foundation’s vaping harm education programme for rangatahi, limit nicotine content of all vape products to 20 mg/mL, ban all front-of-store advertising and displays of vaping products, and re-look at the prescription model.

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