Vape Free Kids says banning disposables 'good' but Government missed 'only solution to change' in vaping crackdown

Vape Free Kids New Zealand says the Government's crackdown on youth vaping will see little change.

It comes after the Government announced it will be cracking down on vaping by banning single-use vapes. 

Fines for retailers caught selling vapes to minors would also change, from $10,000 to $100,000, with infringement-level fines increasing from $500 to $1000 for individuals and $2000 for businesses. 

Associate Health Minister Casey Costello said she aims to have the changes in place by the end of the year

Vape Free Kids co-founder Charyl Robinson spoke with AM on Thursday and said banning disposables will result in little change. 

"Banning disposables at surface level is a good thing which we support, but it's going to do little to change the entrenched addiction that we already have in our youth," Robinson said. 

She said the number of enforcement staff needs to be boosted.

"Costello has admitted there is no funding to increase staff to the levels that are required to enforce 7500 retailers. Without people on the ground to enforce the regulations that sit behind those penalties - they're not really any more than an empty threat." 

She believes having fewer retailers across the country is the solution. 

"There have been a lot of problems, on a lot of fronts, and we could see improvement on those problems with only one solution: fewer retailers. It seems a no-brainer to us." 

"We have always campaigned for the same solution to this problem," she stressed. 

Robinson believes lowering the number of retailers would see more penalties imposed. 

"If we allowed them [enforcement officers] to focus on tobacco and regulated products control, and lowered the number of retailers to 600 as promised by the National Government in their health manifesto, there would be the ability to start imposing some of those penalties [and] then we would see the subsequent compliance that comes with it." 

She said fewer retailers would see more support in "crime prevention measures that they have been crying out for, for years", and would be "the only solution to change".

"These products actually make them targets of crime. There are dangers that come to the owners of the dairies selling these," Robinson stressed. 

Robinson will be meeting with Costello next week. 

"We are keen to see how we can help her to make many forward changes that will help the children of our country," she said.