Environmental impact of disposable vapes didn't play into decision to crack down on them - Health Minister

If you're a sucker for sucking on a Strawberry Parfait or maybe it's a Killer Kustard that's more your vaping vibe, you're about to be out of luck. 

The Government's clamping down on alluring vape flavours,and disposable, single-use vaping devices will no longer be legal. 

They look delicious and their names are delicious too. But the Government's wanting to outlaw overly delactable vape flavours. 

"Strawberry donut might be replaced with 'berry' and more generic names like that to restrict the ability to develop a brand that is particularly appealing to young people," said Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall.

So gone are cotton candy, apple pie, and gummy bears - replaced instead with boring alternatives. It's part of a raft of changes aiming to stop young people picking up the habit: 

"We've heard from parents, from other family members, and from teachers and principals, all of whom are concerned at the prospect that a life-long bad habit is becoming established for many at a young age," said Prime Minister Chris Hipkins

To help crack those habits, any vape sellers wanting to set up shop within 300 metres of a school or marae are out of luck - but existing outlets within that zone are off the hook.

"It applies to new shops from now on, those other shops existed under the law as it was at the time," said Dr Verrall.

Single-use vapes, also called disposables, are also affected.

Use them once, then chuck them away - their environmental impact is vast and growing - but apparently, that had nothing to do with it.  

"It didn't play into the policy-making decision," said Dr Verrall.

All vaping products will have to have safety mechanisms too, mainly so children can't use them, and their batteries must be removable or replaceable to reduce waste and fire risk. They'll come into force from August. 

So how's the plan being received? Pretty well on Wellington's Cuba Street. 

Members of the public Newshub spoke to said the flavours do seem designed to attract children. Another said they are not reusable and bad for the environment. 

The Government did consider plain packaging and making them prescription-only, but they didn't want to deter anyone using vapes to give up smoking.

"I'm not saying vapes are good for you but they are far, far less harmful than tobacco," said Dr Verrall. 

Vaping has long been a weak point for this Government, tinkering around the edges over the years. The changes show they could no longer ignore the pressure building for action on what many are seeing as an is a new epidemic.

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