NZ: Non Complaint Vape Retailers Throw Bad Light on Local Vape Industry

After a local consumer television show, conducted a hidden camera investigation which caught three vape retailers selling vapes to minors, Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA) co-founder Nancy Loucas, highlighted the huge disservice non-compliant vape retailers are doing to the local industry. 

Loucas reiterated that the industry is in favour of regulations that ensure minors have no access to the products. “I’m pleased Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall and Health New Zealand are promising more compliance checks and enforcement. No one wants kids vaping and so any rogue dairy owners need the book thrown at them and fast. No prosecutions have so far been made and that needs to change forthwith.”

Last year the AVCA was amongst the local groups publicly calling for greater enforcement. “Retailers have had long enough to know right from wrong. I respect the Government’s initial focus is on educating retailers about the new law, but it’s now time to move onto enforcement.”

The group highlighted that the problematic area seems to be general convenience shops which close part of their shops to sell the products, adding that specialist vape stores seem to be compliant. “These supposed ‘vape stores’ at one end of dairies need greater oversight before they’re signed off and then greater enforcement. Overall, the regulations that came out of the 2020 vaping legislation are working well, but youth access remains a work in progress,” she said.

Most minors obtain vapes from others
Loucas referred to a recent ASH survey indicating that only 2% of youth vapers illegally purchased vapes themselves, with the rest procuring them via friends, siblings, or even parents. “The two main issues are a lack of enforcement and parental responsibility. The issue is not the vapes themselves. As the Minister Verrall says: ‘We need to continue supporting people who smoke tobacco to successfully switch to less harmful products.’”

“Vaping is why New Zealand’s overall smoking rate has never been lower and why the country is on track to achieve Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 – where five percent of fewer smoke. Good on the Government for its renewed smokefree focus, via its latest bill. However, let’s remember who the enemy is here – combustible tobacco.”