A shop marketing vaping products should not be right next to a primary school because it normalises the habit for young children, says WA’s peak P&C body.
Parents and residents near Carlisle Primary School have been battling for the past year to have their concerns heard about the Westside Vaperz shop which is directly opposite the school’s front gate.
WA Council of State School Organisations president Pania Turner said vaping and the way it was marketed to young people was a growing concern among parents of school age children, so much so that it was top of the list for discussion at the Council’s next meeting.
Ms Turner, who has previously raised concerns about fast food outlets near schools normalising higher consumption of junk food, said the same applied to vaping.
“We would be concerned about vape shops in close proximity to schools,” she said.
It comes as the McGowan Government has stepped up compliance checks on retailers, which are not allowed to sell e-cigarette devices.
Education and Health Ministers Sue Ellery and Amber-Jade Sanderson on Friday unveiled an education campaign and anti-vaping toolkit to combat the alarming rise in the use of e-cigarettes by school students.
Belmont Resident and Ratepayer Action Group chair Lisa Hollands said many residents believed it was an “inappropriate” site for a vape shop.
Westside Vaperz owner Sam Maharaj said he had been having “endless problems” with parents from Carlisle PS since opening his shop 12 months ago, but he believed it was mostly because it meant they could no longer use his parking lot.
He was adamant his business did not flout any laws.
“Our store is strictly 18 years and over,” he said.
“I’ve never sold a drop of nicotine in the six years I’ve been in the industry.”
Mr Maharaj said a handful of less reputable shops that did sell vapes to teens were “bringing our industry down to its knees”.
A State Government spokesperson said that under the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006, products that resemble tobacco products, including e-cigarette devices and their components, whether they contain nicotine or not, cannot be sold or promoted by tobacco or general retailers.
Mr Maharaj said there was also a bottle shop a few metres away from Carlisle Primary.
“But nobody seems to have a problem with that, everyone seems to continue having a problem about the vape shop,” he said.
“I’ve got another store in Gosnells, it’s also across the road from a primary school — Seaforth Primary — it’s been there for four years and I’ve never heard from anyone.”
Australian Council on Smoking and Health chief executive Maurice Swanson welcomed the anti-vaping education campaign, but said it had to be underpinned by strong enforcement at all levels of government to stop the supply of illegal products to children and young people.