Vape shop opens despite uncertainty

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Vaping trend . . . A young couple smoke electronic cigarettes in an overseas vape bar. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

by Chris Tobin

Another vaping business has opened in Timaru, despite probable restrictions being introduced by the Government this year.

Shosha Vape and Hookah has started trading in the former May’s tearooms and bakery in Stafford St.

The company operates 57 outlets around the country, 33 of which trade in Auckland. It also sells online.

Shosha’s owners and the other vaping business in Timaru, Vaporium – which has four South Island outlets, one in Auckland and also trades online – did not respond to questions from The Courier regarding the possible impact of a new Bill.

New role…Timaru’s newest vape shop has opened in the former Mays bakery building in Stafford St. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa has pushed vaping as a way to stop smoking tobacco and has also expressed a desire to introduce the Smoke-free Environments (Vaping) Amendment Bill by the end of this parliamentary term. The Bill would restrict marketing and advertising, and ban many vape flavours.

Those in the vape industry opposed a clamp-down via the restriction of flavours.

New Zealand Vaping Alliance president QJ Satchell said such restrictions would be “draconian, nanny-state over-regulation of this disruptive new technology that is significantly less harmful than smoking, (and) will decimate a thriving market in harm-reduction products”.

Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand spokesman Ben Pryor said the industry would face decimation if the legislation passed.

“Vaping needs quality manufacturing standards, clear advertising guidelines, and strict R18 enforcement. However, prohibiting flavours won’t make any difference to youth vaping rates.

“There remains no evidence, here or overseas, that flavours lead to youth vaping and vaping leads to smoking.”

Mr Pryor said University of Auckland researchers who assessed data from an annual Ash (Action for Smokefree 2025) year 10 survey of 27,083 pupils aged 14 and 15 found only 0.8% were daily vapers who had never smoked before; just 3.1% of all respondents said they vaped daily; and 37.3% said they had tried it.

However, referring to the same study, Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand chief executive Letitia Harding said the number of non-smoking youth trying vaping had increased from 11.1% in 2014, to 24.6% in 2019.

“We see almost a quarter of non-smoking youth aged 14-15 experimenting with vaping as a huge problem.

“Many are doing it without key information on the harmful effects that e-cigarettes have on the lungs, or the detrimental effects of nicotine on the developing brains of teenagers. The idea that vaping is less harmful than cigarettes is all well and good, but they are absolutely not without harm.

“We are deeply concerned about the lack of regulation around vaping, and the lack of emphasis by the Government on the negative aspects of vaping.”

In September, foundation chief medical director Stuart Jones said a report in The New England Journal of Medicine showed potentially hundreds of cases of vaping-induced acute lung injury.

Dr Jones said vaping should not be taken up by non-smokers.

“The only people who may benefit from their use are smokers who have struggled to quit using traditional methods and this should be a part of a smoking cessation programme with full cessation supports and shouldn’t be used by non-smokers.

“We as respiratory professionals would implore the Government to make every effort to protect the airways of our youth and non-smokers, in order to prevent further harm being done.”