SYDNEY, June 6 (Reuters) – New Zealand unveiled measures on Monday to curb vaping by young people, from limits on sales near schools to a ban on some disposable units, as it extends aggressive anti-smoking campaigns.
Although the Pacific nation has one of the lowest rates of adult smoking among the 38 nations in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, it has banned future generations from smoking in a push to be “smokefree” by 2025.
Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said the changes, to be phased in over six months from August, come as too many young people were using vapes, although the government wanted the devices available as an alternative to smoking.
“We’re creating a future where tobacco products are no longer addictive, appealing or as readily available, and the same needs to apply to vaping,” Verrall said in a statement.
From August all vapes sold in New Zealand will need to have removable or replaceable batteries, curbing supply of the compact disposable types favoured by young people, she said.
“We also want vapes as far from the minds and reach of children and young people as possible,” Verrall said, adding that new shops would be kept at least 300 m (328 yards) from schools and marae, or meeting spaces for Maori communities.
Vapes will require child safety mechanisms, with enticing names, such as “cotton candy”, banned, while plain packaging had been considered.
“It is yet another way that we are stopping vape companies from developing particular brands that target young people,” Verrall told a press conference on Tuesday.
Reporting by Lewis Jackson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez
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