• Vape-Free Kids rally in Hastings to call for urgent action

Vape-Free Kids rally in Hastings to call for urgent action

Locals in Hastings will gather on Saturday to call on Central Government to step up and prioritise childrens health over big tobacco profits.

Rally organiser Sukhdeep Singh says he is deeply disappointed in the lack of concrete action to combat the continued proliferation of vape stores in Hawke’s Bay, and across the country.

“I organised a hīkoi against a vape store opening next to our local primary school in September last year. Locals turned out in force to show their opposition, and yet the store continues to trade.”

“Our goal with Saturday’s rally is to show national political leaders that we are not going to sit by quietly while these stores keep feeding the growing youth vaping crisis,” says Singh.

Vape-Free Kids NZ spokesperson Charyl Robinson said the current government must be held to account after their u-turn on pre-election promises around youth vaping.

“We have reached out to the Associate Health Minister numerous times with our concerns, and yet they haven’t even bothered to respond.”

“As focus has shifted to the Smokefree legislation reversal, let’s not forget the growing number of rangatahi and tamariki who are being targeted by Big Tobacco companies. They are actively lobbying legislators into both relaxing rules around cigarettes and continuing to normalise vape use. All so they can produce another generation of nicotine addicts in order to fuel their profits,” says Robinson.

“It is morally reprehensible that any government can turn a blind eye to the growing issue of youth vape addiction. As long as there are no meaningful youth vaping policy changes in New Zealand, we will organise rallies, protests, and do everything in our power to create a vape and nicotine-free future for our children,” adds Robinson.

A range of speakers will share their experiences and concerns over the youth vaping crisis in New Zealand, including local councillors, opposition party MPs, school principals and health

The rally will be held on Saturday, February 24 at 3.15pm at the Hastings City Clock Tower.