Worried parents have banded together to call for stronger action from the Government to curb youth vaping. The Facebook group Vape-Free Kids NZ, founded by Anna, a concerned Christchurch mother, already has more than 1000 members.
At just 14 years old, Anna’s son became addicted to vaping, and they are still battling the ongoing consequences. Now 16, he struggles to give up the addiction and faces the changes it has made to his brain and the way he interacts with his family.
Vape-Free Kids NZ spokesperson, Kate Duder, believes that while the proposed ban on new vape shops opening within 300 meters of schools and marae is a positive step, it fails to address the large number of existing stores. Duder argues that the government must act now to stop the sale of vapes in dairies, especially those near schools and kura.
“We are deeply concerned about the welfare of our rangatahi, given the cynical and blatant promotion of vaping targeting young people,” says Duder.
Vape-Free Kids NZ raises concerns about child safety mechanisms, such as using more generic names for vape flavors. Duder argues that even names like ‘berry’ are not enough to prevent children from being enticed by them.
“If the goal is smoking cessation, simply having plain or menthol flavors should be more than sufficient. Retaining the ability for vape companies to market a large range of fruity flavors makes no sense.”
While Vape-Free Kids NZ is not anti-vaping as a tool for smokers who want to quit, the group believes that the government needs to strike the right balance between providing harm-reducing alternatives to cigarettes and protecting young people who have never smoked from falling into nicotine addiction.
“We have worked so hard as a country to reduce smoking, and it is ironic that the tool we elected to help smokers quit is actually causing an alarming spike in nicotine addiction amongst young people,” adds Duder.
Understanding the Concerns of Parents: Curbing Youth Vaping
As more young people turn to vaping, parents in Christchurch, New Zealand, are stepping up their efforts to tackle this growing issue. Led by the Facebook group Vape-Free Kids NZ, these concerned parents are voicing their worries and demanding stronger action from the Government to curb youth vaping.
The Battle Against Addiction: Anna’s Story
Among the parents advocating for change is Anna, a mother from Christchurch who has experienced the devastating effects of youth vaping firsthand. At the age of 14, her son became addicted to vaping, and since then, their family has been locked in a battle to overcome not only the addiction but also the long-term consequences it has brought upon her son.
Now 16 years old, Anna’s son still struggles to give up vaping and faces challenges in his brain development and his relationship with his family.
The Need for Immediate Action
The proposed ban on new vape shops opening within 300 meters of schools and marae is a step in the right direction, according to Kate Duder, spokesperson for Vape-Free Kids NZ. However, Duder emphasizes that this measure alone will not suffice, as there are already numerous existing vape stores in proximity to educational institutions.
Duder urges the Government to take immediate action and prohibit the sale of vapes in dairies, especially those located near schools and kura. The well-being of young people is at stake, and the group believes that the cynical and targeted promotion of vaping towards youth must be addressed urgently.
Safeguarding Children: Addressing Flavors
One area of concern highlighted by Vape-Free Kids NZ is the appeal of vape flavors to young people. Even supposedly innocent names like “berry” can entice children to try vaping.
Duder argues that if the ultimate goal of vaping is to assist in smoking cessation, restricting flavors to plain or menthol options should suffice. Allowing companies to market an extensive range of fruity flavors seems counterproductive to reducing youth vaping rates.
Striking a Balance: Harm Reduction versus Nicotine Addiction
It is important to note that Vape-Free Kids NZ acknowledges the potential benefits of vaping as a smoking cessation tool for adults. However, the group emphasizes the need for the Government to find the right balance between providing harm-reducing alternatives for adult smokers and protecting young people who have never smoked.
New Zealand has made significant progress in decreasing smoking rates, making it all the more concerning that vaping has sparked an alarming rise in nicotine addiction among young people.
Taking Action: Petitions for Change
Vape-Free Kids NZ is actively campaigning for change. The group has launched two petitions (available here and here) urging the Government to take immediate action in addressing the issue of youth vaping. By signing these petitions, concerned individuals can add their voices to the call for change.
Join the Movement to Protect our Youth
Your support matters. Sign the petitions and share this article to raise awareness about the urgent need to combat youth vaping and protect our children from the dangers of nicotine addiction.