When rapper Jack Harlow performed at Auckland’s Trusts Arena on 31 July, he was genuinely shocked by the amount of Gen Z vapers in the audience.
“People vape in New Zealand?” Harlow asked. “It’s a nasty habit, I hope it’s your last night doing it. Cut it out.”
The latest research shows a fifth (20%) of students in New Zealand are vaping daily or several times a day, and the majority are vaping with high nicotine doses.
Industry experts are calling for an urgent regulatory change to disposable vapes, which are acting as a gateway for thousands of youth into vaping and nicotine addiction.
Harlow, who is known for his hits ‘WHATS POPPIN’ and ‘First Class’, that went viral on TikTok, may be a huge influence for change in youth vaping culture. Thousands of comments on TikTok supported Harlow’s message.
“Anything for you Zaddy,” said the person who posted the original TikTok of Harlow giving the crowd a schooling.
Compared to more expensive refillable vaping products, experts say there are over 600 different types of disposable vapes available, with their fruity flavours making them popular with teens.
Nabhik Gupta, a spokesperson for Shosha, the largest vape shop in New Zealand and Australia says we should follow the US who recently banned the sale of some of the most popular disposable vapes, allowing the industry to focus on smoking cessation.
Gupta says disposable vapes start at around $10, which makes them more affordable to young people.
“In comparison, a refillable vape product, which is used by smokers, would cost around $50+. Lower cost disposable products are acting as a gateway for thousands of non-smoking youths, exposing them unnecessarily to a nicotine addiction.”