New Zealand Health Minister Casey Costello Responds to Critics

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New Zealand Health Minister Casey Costello Responds to Critics
New Zealand Health Ministry responds to criticism from anti-e-cigarette group, vows to crackdown on youth access and sales.

According to the Otago Daily Times, New Zealand's Deputy Health Minister Casey Costello responded to criticism from anti-e-cigarette groups and stated that she is not neglecting efforts to reduce e-cigarette use.


Ms. Costello stated:


Last week, I announced that we will ban disposable e-cigarettes - the most appealing product to young people. We will significantly increase penalties for selling e-cigarettes to minors, and introduce stricter regulations and enforcement of e-cigarette sales. All of these measures are aimed at reducing youth usage of e-cigarettes and decreasing the supply of e-cigarettes.


The founding members of Smokefree Kids New Zealand met with Mrs. Costello on Wednesday after presenting verbal recommendations to the Health Select Committee. The group had submitted a petition with over 12,000 signatures to Parliament in August last year, calling for restrictions on the sale of e-cigarette products to be limited to e-cigarette stores only and for more regulation on e-cigarettes due to concerns of addiction among young people.


Last week, a member of the Dunedin organization also highlighted issues encountered with the enforcement of tobacco control measures, stating that banning disposable e-cigarettes is "far from enough."


Spokesperson Marnie Wilton stated that, despite several months of attempts, they finally met with Ms. Costello, but they are very dissatisfied with the progress.


Wilton said:


We can clearly see that she does not want to reduce the supply of e-cigarettes. Her primary goal seems to be making e-cigarettes more easily accessible, rather than protecting our children from nicotine addiction.


"Unless the supply of e-cigarettes in the community decreases, nothing will change," she said.


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