Government cracks down on disposable vapes with significant announcements

  • 06/06/2023
Government cracks down on disposable vapes with significant announcements
Photo credit: Newshub.

The Government is cracking down on disposable vapes by requiring them to have removable or replaceable batteries.

It will also not allow new shops selling vapes to be established within 300 metres of schools or marae and will be more prescriptive about what flavour names vapes can have. 

The move from the Government comes amid rising concern about the number of young people vaping. One study found 10 percent of year 10 students were vaping daily.

"From August this year, all vaping devices sold in New Zealand will need to have removeable or replaceable batteries," said Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall. 

From August there will be a lead-in time of three months for disposable vapes and six months for reusable vapes to be compliant with the law.

"This limits the sale of cheap disposable vapes that are popular among young people," Dr Verrall said.

"We also want vapes as far from the minds and reach of children and young people as possible, so any locations within 300 metres of schools and marae will be off-limits for new shops.

"From August, vapes will need child safety mechanisms, and potentially enticing names like 'cotton candy' and 'strawberry jelly donut' which accompany far too many products will be prohibited. Only generic names which accurately describe the flavours can be used such as 'berry.'"

The Health Minister said there needed to be a balance between preventing young people from starting to vape and "at the same time as having vapes available as a cessation tool for those who genuinely want to give up smoking".

"These new regulations build on protections the Labour Government introduced in 2020, including banning sales to under-18s and prohibiting vape advertising and sponsorship."

She recognised that vaping had played a role in reducing the number of New Zealanders smoking. 

"New Zealand's smoking rate is half the rate of what it was 10 years ago, with the number of people smoking falling by 56,000 in the past year.

"We're creating a future where tobacco products are no longer addictive, appealing or as readily available, and the same needs to apply to vaping."

A public consultation document launched by the Health Minister earlier this year said there had been a "dramatic rise in the use of low-cost, single-use vaping products (also referred to as 'disposable vapes'), and it is likely that New Zealand will follow this pattern".

"These products have high levels of nicotine, and have a number of safety concerns associated with them, including a lack of child safety mechanisms, the inability to inspect for battery damage, nicotine concentration, substance labelling and trackable serial or batch numbers."

The consultation document made proposals about flavour names.
The consultation document made proposals about flavour names. Photo credit: Ministry of Health.

It also said the naming of some flavours would likely appeal to young people. For example, 'Gummy Bear', 'Bubble Gum', and 'Unicorn Milk'. It wanted to be more prescriptive with what flavour names the vapes could have. 

A Newshub-Reid Research poll last month found 68 percent of people support banning recreational vaping to 27 percent against it.