Vape Free Kids NZ hands over petitions to Parliament calling for tougher measures to protect kids from vaping

Two petitions calling for tougher measures to protect New Zealand's kids from vaping have been delivered to Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.  

Over 12,000 people from around the country have signed the petitions calling for tough new laws to stop kids from vaping.

The petitions were delivered to Dr Tracey McLellan, chair of the Health Select Committee and MP for Banks Peninsula, on the steps of Parliament at 12:30pm by Vape Free Kids New Zealand. 

The petitions, launched on March 27 and April 3, call for a ban on the sale of vaping products in non-vape stores such as dairies, supermarkets, and service stations. It's also calling on the Government to improve regulations on Specialist Vape Retailers.

The Government previously announced regulations in June aimed at reducing access to vapes and vaping stores by young people. 

Earlier on Wednesday, Vape Free Kids New Zealand spokesperson Charyl Robinson told AM despite the regulations, the Government isn't doing enough to help kids who are addicted to vaping. 

"There was a really large window held wide open for specialist retailers to get in and get their licences approved and opened prior to that one August cut-off date and we've seen that happen," she said. 

"In the last month to August 1, there were 44 new specialist vape retailers approved and opening around the country within those 300 metres of schools and marae… It doesn't address the thousands of children who are already severely addicted to nicotine. There's no investment in any type of cessation program for people, any people, let alone children wanting to give up vaping." 

Robinson said the Government is too focused on Smokefree Aotearoa 2025, which is unintendedly causing more issues. 

"It seems as though this explosion of the vaping epidemic has come about as an unintended consequence of that plan," she said. 

"We feel as though they want to get to that, tick that box, congratulate themselves on that and then, well, I suppose they'll need to deal with this vaping issue now. But we want it dealt with now. It's having a devastating impact on our youth." 

The petition comes amid growing concerns from parents, schools, principals and health workers across the sector about the impact vaping is having on our children.

Papatoetoe High School principal Vaughan Couillault told AM last week he wanted to see more funding to help curb vaping. 

Couillault was speaking to AM about National's plan to ban cell phones in all schools across the country and wanted to see that money invested in vaping. 

"To be perfectly honest, if we were going to invest money in legislation and implementing legislation, I think we should invest that money in the scourge that is vaping," he said. 

"It's workforce, it's literacy and it's vaping - that is the topic of conversation in pretty much every high school."

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) said it stood in solidarity with parents who launched the petition saying New Zealand has failed our children. 

"We as adults have failed to protect our mokopuna, by not learning lessons from the past in keeping products designed to addict their user out of their hands and out of their community," HCA Smoke-free Expert Advisory Group member Catherine Manning said.