New Zealand announced on Tuesday that it would launch a crackdown on disposable vapes in order to reduce smoking among the country’s youth.
Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement that the government is taking steps to reduce the number of young people who vape.
“Too many young people are vaping, which is why we’re making a number of moves to stop that happening,” Verrall said.
Under the new regulations, all vaping devices sold in the country will be required to have removable or replaceable batteries.
As of August, vapes will require child safety mechanisms and potentially enticing names like “cotton candy” and “strawberry jelly donut” that accompany far too many products will be prohibited. Only generic names that accurately describe the flavors, such as “berry,” said the minister.
To protect children, the government also prohibited the opening of new vape shops within 300 meters of schools and the marae – the courtyard of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people’s meeting house, particularly as a social or ceremonial forum.
According to Verrall, the country’s smoking rate has decreased over the last decade. “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,” she said.
Last month, Australian Health Minister Mark Butler also said that Canberra will ban “recreational” vaping in the country.
Butler said the government will increase taxes on tobacco by 5% over the next three years, beginning September.
“Vaping was sold as a therapeutic product to help long-term smokers quit, not a recreational product – especially not one targeted to our kids,” he added.
*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid
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