Vaping crackdown will not shift school-side Queenstown vape store

by Lauren Pattemore - Jun 07, 2023

A vape shop located within 100 metres of a Queenstown school will stay despite new moves from the government to curb youth vaping.

Health Minister Ayesha Verral has yesterday announced a crackdown on disposable vapes, restricted descriptions for product flavours and no new vape shops near schools.

It means the Shoosha store located 80 metres from the Wakatipu High School boundary will not be forced to relocate.

The government has ruled no new vape stores can open within 300 metres of a school (or marae), with the minister saying it wants "vapes as far from the minds and reach of children and young people as possible". 

But Shoosha spokesperson Nabhik Gupta says since the regulation only applies to new stores the Shoosha shop in Frankton will be staying where it is.

The location of the Frankton shop had been approved by the Minister of Health ahead of its opening in November 2020.

Mr Gupta has previously told Crux the store has very strict policies in place, and will not sell to anyone in school uniform, even if they're 18 - the legal age to buy vaping products. 

Mr Gupta says the recently announced changes are “a really good initiative" from the government.

Yesterday, Minister Verrall has also announced all disposable vapes sold in New Zealand must have replaceable or removable batteries by August, saying this measure "limits the sale of cheap disposable vapes that are popular among young people". 

Enticing flavour names like “cotton candy” and “strawberry jelly donut” will also not be allowed to be used to describe products, according to the government announcement, and only generic and basic descriptive names like “berry” will be able to be used instead.

Mr Gupta of Shoosha says the changes related to disposable vapes will impact on some of their available products, and they will need to switch out some stock in favour of vapes with removable batteries.

While the flavour name changes won’t affect the store much. Mr Gupta says only “a couple” of their disposable vape products stray away from generic names, with most adopting plainer descriptions.

He says it’s “good to see the government putting these steps in place” and Shoosha would support a “blanket ban” on disposable vapes entirely.

“We were not a fan of disposable vapes since day one.”

Last month, Queenstown Youth Trust general manager Jacqui Moir spoke to Crux saying youth vaping is “absolutely a big problem” in Queenstown.

She says vaping products are widely used by youth in the area.

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