Disposable vapes to be banned, more restrictions on retailers announced

The New Zealand coalition government will ban single-use vapes as part of a crackdown on youth vaping, aiming to have all the changes in place by the end of the year.

Other measures include much bigger fines for selling vapes to under-18s, further retailer restrictions, and a better enforcement system to ensure they are following the rules.

Associate Health Minister Casey Costello announced the changes. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act would go through the normal legislative process - not under urgency - with an aim to have it implemented by the end of the year.

However, requirements for reusable vapes to have removable batteries and child-proofing mechanisms will be delayed until October.

She said reusable vapes were a key smoking cessation device and would remain available, but too many teenagers continued to use disposable vapes, which can be thrown out after running out of juice.

"They're cheap and remain too easy to get, despite changes under the previous government. That's why these cheap, single use vape products will be banned outright," Costello said.

Fines for retailers caught selling vapes and other regulated products like cigarettes to minors would increase from $10,000 to $100,000, with infringement-level fines increasing from $500 to $1000 for individuals and $2000 for businesses.

Licencing and compliance regimes would be reviewed, with stronger enforcement of those penalties, Costello said, and officials would consult on tighter restrictions on storefront displays and staffing requirements.

"There must be clear consequences for retailers found supplying vapes, or other regulated products like cigarettes, to minors," Costello said.

"The coalition government is committed to tackling youth vaping and to continue to drive down smoking rates to achieve the Smokefree goal of less than 5 per cent of the population smoking daily by 2025."

She said new regulations set to take effect from Thursday - including a ban on vapes with cartoon or toy imagery, and limiting flavour names to generic descriptions - would continue as planned.

Related changes for reusable vapes to have removable batteries and childproofing, would however be delayed until 1 October "to ensure sufficient availability of appropriate resuable vaping products to continue to support people to quit smoking".