Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) have re-launched their youth vaping education website ‘Don’t Get Sucked In’ to align with the new vaping legislation coming into effect on 11 November 2020.
The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 creates a framework for the regulation of vaping products to prevent youth uptake, while striking a balance between ensuring vaping products are available as a quit smoking tool for smokers when all Medsafe approved products have failed.
The Foundation’s website encourages teens not to try vaping (or smoking) in the first place, by challenging them to think critically about vaping and how it fits with their goals. The website sits within the wider body of work conducted by ARFNZ to reduce the appeal of vaping (and smoking) to children and young people, and to promote healthy lungs.
Letitia Harding, Chief Executive, ARFNZ says it is critical that there is a source of information targeted at this age group so they are aware of what they are inhaling and make more informed choices.
"The website has had thousands of visitors since its launch in February 202; this alone demonstrates the demand for targeted information from a credible source."
As part of aligning with the Vaping Act, ARFNZ have brought together a group of experts - the ‘Vaping Educational Advisory Group’ (VEAG) - to consistently review and advise on the information on the website. The group includes a wide array of experts including registered health practitioners.
Professor Janet Hoek from the University of Otago, co-Director of ASPIRE 2025, and a member of the VEAG, notes New Zealand research has shown a significant rise in vaping use among youth (under 18-year-olds), which needs to be addressed.
"The Act will provide much-needed regulation around the aggressive marketing of vaping products to youth; we hope the forthcoming regulations will stop promotions used to recruit a new cohort of nicotine-dependent users".
The latest ASH Year 10 Data on e-cigarette use among New Zealand adolescents shows that prevalence of regular (at least monthly) and daily use of e-cigarettes approximately trebled between 2015 and 2019, with the greatest use among Māori students.
The Foundation’s VEAG member, Matt Tukaki, Executive Director of Te Kaunihera Māori o Aotearoa (New Zealand Māori Council) hopes that the Act will reduce youth becoming addicted to vapes in Aotearoa, in particular, Māori students.
"Vaping isn’t harmless, and educating our rangatahi by providing the truth is an essential part of reducing youth uptake as well as supporting education providers with resources and credible research and information - the Foundation’s ‘Don’t Get Sucked In’ website fills that gap."
For more information visit: www.dontgetsuckedin.co.nz
For more information about the timeframes of the Vaping Act visit the Ministry of Health website: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/regulation-vaping-and-smokeless-tobacco-products/about-smokefree-environments-and-regulated-products-vaping-amendment-act#timeline