The Cancer Society says it is critical the Government’s vaping legislation is passed before the election to protect school children from industry marketing.
The Health Select Committee has recommended the Bill be passed with some amendments. The Cancer Society wants it passed before Parliament closes in mid-August but says this is looking unlikely as other Government priorities jump the legislative queue.
“The Bill needs to be a top priority as the Government is running out of time to pass this legislation before all parties move into election mode,” says Shayne Nahu Cancer Society Advocacy and Wellbeing Manager.
“The urgency already shown to get this Bill progressed was for good reason. The most recent ASH data revealed a three-fold increase in regular vaping in Year 10 students between 2018 and 2019 – from 1150 (4%) to 3,282 (12%) 14-15-year-olds. Another year of the industry relentlessly marketing their products to children and non-smokers, together with easy access to these products would be disastrous. If current trends continue, we could have thousands more kids addicted to nicotine,” Nahu says.
New Zealand research shows that nearly half (48%) of school-aged kids who regularly vaped in 2019 had never smoked.
“Our tamariki are really vulnerable to industry tactics that make vaping seem attractive and harmless,” Nahu says. “Vaping is not harmless, and we need good regulation to protect youth and support people who smoke to switch and quit.”
“There has been a groundswell of support from schools, community and health groups to get these regulations through. It would be a disaster for the Bill to get this far, only to be put on ice because of the upcoming election.”
Among its recommendations, the Bill proposes limiting most flavours to specialist R18 vape shops and banning the marketing and promotion of vape products – two measures the Cancer Society supports to protect young people.
“The Government is on the right track with this Bill. We look forward to the day when all tobacco products are only available from specialist R18 shops. In the meantime, let’s finish what we’ve started and prioritise the passing of this legislation.”