Anti-youth vaping group outraged Associate Health Minister Casey Costello refuses meeting

A group of parents wanting to reduce vaping among young people is outraged the Associate Health Minister refused to meet with them.

Vape Free Kids New Zealand has been trying since December to have talks with Casey Costello.

On Saturday the group held a rally in Hastings calling on the Government to do more to tackle youth vaping.

Among them was Sukhdeep Singh whose son goes to a school that's across the road from a vape shop.

The young father is worried the issue of youth vaping is only getting worse.

"I think every father and parent in the whole country is worried their kids are exposed to vaping products," Singh said.

Also attending the rally was Napier Intermediate School principal Timothy Van Zyl, who sees the impact vaping is having on youth.

"We're having kids sneak out of class going to the bathroom to get their daily fix," he said.

Vape Free Kids New Zealand wants tougher regulations on vaping in Aotearoa, and wanted to meet with new Associate Health Minister Casey Costello.

The group claims it has been trying for nearly three months to speak with Costello and was told earlier this week that she was unable to meet with them.

Vape Free Kids New Zealand spokesperson Charyl Robinson said they're outraged by the Minister's decision.

"It makes us feel really angry if I'm honest, it feels very disingenuous," Robinson said.

The Asthma Foundation agreed with the sentiment - chief executive Letitia Harding said it was disappointing.

"You hear the promises on the election trail and the campaign trail from Ministers [that] they want to engage with community groups and then of course now they're elected it's hard to get hold of them."

Costello wasn't available for an interview with Newshub but said she envisages meeting the group as part of the coalition Government's plans on vaping control, but no invitation has been sent to Vape Free Kids New Zealand.