Welcome to Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy - AVCA New Zealand

Concerns about youth vaping already well addressed

Media stories about youth vaping are deeply concerning but significant changes have been made in the past year with more coming,” says Nancy Loucas, co-director of the Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA).

Her comments follow a story on Maori television show, The Hui. It investigated ‘the uptake of vaping amongst rangatahi, which is leading to stand-offs at home and stand-downs at school.’

“Vaping by minors is completely unacceptable. However, let’s not forget that vaping products are strictly R18 following last year’s Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act.

“The Government now needs to get really tough at the point of sale, applying the toughest penalties available for those caught selling or supplying to minors,” she says.

The leading Tobacco Harm Reduction advocate says ongoing claims of vape flavours and marketing aimed at attracting youth is not matched by the new regulatory reality.

“Last year all vaping advertising was completely axed. The legislation also ensures tougher regulations around packaging, promotions, and displays. Next month, substantial flavour restrictions take effect,” she says.

From 11 August, general retailers – such as supermakets, service stations, and dairies – will only be permitted to sell three favours: mint, menthol, and tobacco. Specialist registered vape stores can still sell a wider range of flavours.

Ms Loucas says despite some best attempts to create a crisis of youth vaping, the anecdotes are not reflected in any significant empirical evidence to date.

University of Auckland researchers last year examined a survey of over 27,000 secondary school students. Researchers found only 0.8% of 14 and 15-year-olds, who had never smoked, were regular vapers. Subsequently, they confirmed there was no youth vaping epidemic in New Zealand.

ACVA argues the Government’s blunt approach to making vaping much less appealing and attainable for young New Zealanders will sadly see fewer Kiwi adults successfully quit smoking through vaping.

“When you start removing popular adult vape flavours where cigarettes are sold, you slowdown smokefree. When saturate the media with stories perpetuating lies that vaping is bad for your lungs and its long-term impact on people’s health remains unknown, you wrongly give smokers a reason not to quit deadly cigarettes,” she says.

Vaping is scientifically deemed 95% less harmful than smoking, and widely accepted as the world’s most effective smoking cessation tool.

Ms Loucas says it’s important vaping’s key role in New Zealand achieving Smokefree Aotearoa is reflected in the soon to be finalised Ministry of Health vaping regulations and the Government’s smokefree action plan.

“Let’s not keep trashing the best thing we have to achieving smokefree. More than enough measures are in place to protect our rangitahi – or young people. We now just need all retailers to enforce the age restriction. The role of parents, whanau, and schools is also critical,” says Nancy Loucas.

About AVCA

AVCA was formed in 2016 by vapers across New Zealand wanting their voices heard in local and central government. All members are former smokers who promote vaping to help smokers quit – a much less harmful alternative to combustible tobacco products. AVCA does not have any affiliation or vested interest in industry – tobacco, pharmaceutical and/or the local vaping manufacturing or retail sectors.


For a free digital media repository on Tobacco Harm Reduction in Asia Pacific – including media releases, images and graphics – please visit https://apthrmedia.org

Nancy Loucas

Nancy Loucas

Nancy comes from a diverse administrative background that includes surgical research administration, teaching (primary and tertiary level), executive administration and community property management. For over 15 years she has been very active in community advocacy with youth, lower income folk needing advocacy and now, vaping advocacy. She brings a wealth of scientific, medical and research administrative/management knowledge with her to her role as CEO/Director at AVCA.

Recent Posts

Vaping won’t work if nicotine is attacked

Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 is in jeopardy if New Zealand’s Vaping Regulatory Authority...

Read More

THR approach sees NZ’s smoking rate plummet

New Zealand’s Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) strategy is working exceptionally well with...

Read More

Lung damage from vaping doesn’t stack up

“New Zealand’s Asthma and Respiratory Foundation (ARFNZ) is once again making health...

Read More

Let’s catch more bad NZ vape retailers – AVCA

It’s great news that ratbag retailers are getting slapped with fines for...

Read More


Enter your email address below to subscribe to my newsletter