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Council receives community petition opposing vape shop in Otāne

vaping photo

Central Hawke’s Bay District Council formally received a 502-signature petition from members of the Otāne community at its meeting on Thursday, opposing a vape shop in Otāne and petitioning for its closure.

The petition was received publicly under Standing Orders in Council after being presented to the Mayor by Otāne resident Kerry Low who was concerned about vaping products being available in the town and the impacts to young people in the village.

Mayor Alex Walker says that local councils make decisions in consultation with their communities about the sale and supply of alcohol, but do not have the power to regulate the sale of vaping products in the same way. However, they do have a legislated duty to promote community wellbeing and are well placed to provide valuable local context and knowledge.  

“We take our responsibility for community wellbeing and as advocates for our community extremely seriously,” says Mayor Alex Walker. “We acknowledge that our local retailers have the right to operate within the current regulatory framework. We also welcome this initiative by the Otāne community. It opens a conversation about how the current vaping regime needs to change to benefit everyone in our community,” says Mayor Alex Walker.  

“While recent changes to Ministry of Health vaping regulations are positive, we want to see these go further to protect our kids from a new and largely unknown health risk. We support the controlled supply of vapes to adults wanting to stop smoking, but we definitely don’t want to see young people who have never smoked in their life taking vaping up.”  

“This petition demonstrates that our community are passionate about ensuring they have a say about if and where vapes can be sold within their community and we’ll be ensuring their views are heard by the new Government.”

Vaping products can have a significant - and not fully understood - impact on health, particularly in children and young people. The Paediatric Society of New Zealand links long-term vaping to nicotine addiction, lung inflammation, an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and the worsening of asthma symptoms.

Through a remit passed at the 2022 Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) General Meeting, councils called on the Government to limit the retail availability of vapes to R18 specialist stores and restrict their location and proximity to schools.

In August 2023 the Ministry of Health notified new regulations for vaping, including proximity rules for vape stores and a reduction in nicotine strength.  

This year Local Government NZ (LGNZ) has formally requested clarification on how local government could be empowered and resourced to lead local regulation and enforcement of smoked products regulations, including vaping. 

15 December 2023

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