The Paediatric Society of New Zealand/Te Kāhui Mātai Arotamariki o Aotearoa is calling for greater action to reduce access to vapes for young people.
Paediatrician Dr Colette Muir says, “The Society and my child health colleagues are extremely worried by the level of youth vaping in New Zealand. 10.1% of Year 10’s in the ASH Year 10 Snapshot survey are vaping daily.
“While the health policy intention regarding vaping was to reduce smoking it is now clear that vaping is causing significant harm to Aotearoa’s tamariki and rangitahi. More needs to be done to prevent youth who do not smoke taking up vaping in the first place.”
Dr Muir says, “The data shows the importance of trying to find a better balance between supporting people who smoke to move to less harmful options, while protecting young people who have never smoked from taking up vaping.
“My Paediatric Society colleagues and other Child and Youth Health professionals are particularly concerned at the impacts of vaping such as when symptoms of nicotine withdrawal affects learning and behaviour.
“We are concerned that an alarming number of high school students are trying or taking up vaping because their friends do it and they’ve heard it’s safe and are curious. But your lungs are designed to breathe air, not smoke or vape. There is no safety data for e-cigarettes and there is evidence of harm.”
Recent studies suggest that while most adults vape to try to reduce or give up smoking, most teenagers vape for curiosity, to follow peers, and are enticed by the flavours.
“While the Vaping Amendment Act which came into force in November 2022, aims to make e-cigarettes less appealing and available to teens, we feel more needs to be done to prevent youth taking up e-cigarettes, particularly e-cigarettes that contain nicotine,” says Dr Muir.
“The 31st of May is World Smokefree Day, we would like to see the focus move to be on creating a nicotine free world for all our tamariki and rangitahi.”
For more information please contact Ally Clelland, Communications Manager, Paediatric Society of NZ on 022 044 2161 or email [email protected]