Waipā votes to go Smoke, Vape free

Vaping has become an epidemic among Waipā youth, Cambridge High School deputy principal John McDonnell told district councillors this week.

And councillors heeded his call for them to be leaders and limit the supply to young people.

John McDonnell

John McDonnell

They voted this week to extend a proposed Smokefree and Vaping policy ban to take in streets next to schools.

Vaping has had a massive negative impact on attendance numbers among students, McDonnell told the Strategic Planning and Policy committee this week.

Students who had been vaping showed a lacklustre attitude in class and the habit led to nicotine and drug addictions, he said.

McDonnell produced a shopping bag filled with $4000 worth of vape products he had confiscated.

He explained that as the products were for people 18 years and over, he could not return them to under-age students.

He said he feared some parents had picked up their children’s confiscated property and returned it to the students.

vaping

“Many of them (the products) are small and easy to conceal at school and make it hard to spot them,” he said.

But he said that while vaping is dangerous for students, other issues are making problems as well.

With expensive canisters McDonnell said that many children are sharing them, which he believes is a health hazard.

Four or five years ago he said that it was amongst senior students, year 12-13 students, but now he sees it amongst year nine students, those who are just starting high school. Many of them use high graded nicotine canisters.

Liz Stolwyk

Liz Stolwyk

“I call for our councillors to be leaders and limit the supply to our youth.”

Deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk said she was interested in pursuing a bylaw around sales of the products and limiting the number of outlets able to sell them.

But mayor Jim Mylchreest said the current laws would not allow that and Waipā would need to lobby central government for stricter laws similar to those around gambling, alcohol and cigarettes.

Council adopted the smoke and vape free policy which comes into effect from September and includes council-owned and managed parks and reserves, bus stops, outdoor public areas including for outdoor dining within the central business districts of Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Kihikihi, Ohaupo and Pirongia.

Waipa Mayor Jim Mylchreest.

Council received 41 submissions on the policy, with 85 percent in support.

The policy will focus on education rather than issuing fines to offenders.

Mylchreest said compliance would be encouraged by promoting smokefree behaviours, as well working with the community, schools and Waikato District Health Board on educational initiatives.

Prior to adopting its policy Waipā was one of only three North Island local authorities not to have a policy in place.

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