Ministry of Health proposes more regulations after survey shows school children vaping

The Ministry of Health has revealed more proposed regulations around vaping as a new survey reveals a huge surge in vaping among school children.

The proposals come as India announces a complete ban on vaping to prevent an 'epidemic' among young people.

Vaping has become a fast-growing habit among our young, and principals are concerned. 

"We and other schools are now encountering 14-year-old, 15-year-old [kids] who are addicted to nicotine. We know that scientifically nicotine is damaging to the adolescent brain," says Glendowie College Principal, Richard Dykes.

A Cancer Society survey found 90 percent of schools are aware of students vaping. More than half described it as a problem, and nearly one in 10 primary schools were aware of its students vaping.

"Our main concern is that kids who vape have been shown to have a higher at risk of going on to smoke," says Cancer Society Public Health Analyst, Candace Bagnall.

Even schools that haven't had a problem with smoking are seeing issues with vaping.

"We had zero percent [of our] students smoking," says Mr Dykes. "And suddenly we're seeing vaping going through the roof and it's become an epidemic."

On Thursday (NZ time), India banned the production, sale and use of e-cigarettes due to its impact on young people, saying e-cigarettes pose a health risk.

In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health is not going that far - but intends to introduce new regulations.

"Vaping products are intended for smokers only, and primarily to assist them to quit. Non-smokers, particularly young non-smokers, should be strongly discouraged from vaping," says Jane Chambers, the manager of Tobacco Control.

Last week, Newshub learned that the Government is considering banning most flavours and putting a stop to advertising.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health revealed further proposals:

  • set upper limits on nicotine levels 
  • limit the scope of ingredients that may be included in vaping liquid 
  • prohibit harmful ingredients 
  • set quality standards for ingredients 
  • set standards for refill containers and devices. 

The Cancer Society would also like to see access to e-cigarettes restricted. 

"We don't want to see it on every street corner and local dairy next to the lollies," says Bagnall.

"We'd like to see it restricted to possibly pharmacies, smoking cessation services and specialist vape shops."

The Vaping Amendment Bill is expected to be introduced into the House this year, in the hope of protecting the next generation from addiction.