The mayor slams the location of the new vape store.
The opening of a vaping store near three schools in Gisborne shows a “complete disregard” for the issue of vaping among students, said Mayor Rehette Stoltz.
The store is due to open in the former office of Cabinet Minister and Labor MP Kiri Allan at the corner of Stanley and Gladstone Roads.
Gisborne Girls ‘High is diagonally across the road, Gisborne Boys’ High is 235 meters on Stanley Road and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga is on Desmond Road nearby.
While liquor stores need a license to sell, vape stores do not.
Inside the building when The Herald visited the site were new cabinets and boxes addressed to Kolotex Limited, a national chain of retailers that “specializes in selling tobacco at the best prices online in New Zealand. Zealand, as well as electronic cigarettes, shisha pipes and other R18 products ”.
Mayor Rehette Stoltz is not happy.
“It is well known that schools in New Zealand are grappling with the rise of vaping among students as young as 11 years old, so opening a vaping store just yards from two high schools shows complete disregard for this issue.
“While there are currently few regulatory options to prevent this activity, it raises ethical questions for business owners as to where they choose to do business,” said Mayor Stoltz.
“The council is considering whether the building at 542 Gladstone Road can still be used for retail use (such as a vaping store) given that it has not been used for that purpose for several years now.
“The Department of Health consulted on its Smoke-Free Environments and Regulated Products Act earlier this year and the regulations are expected to be announced in August.
“I hope this includes mechanisms for local authorities to restrict where these businesses can operate.”
“What clientele are they targeting? ” : the directors
Girls’ High School student Erika McKee said many students believe the vaping store will negatively influence the large number of students who go to the dairy and bakery next door.
“Although most students are too young to buy vapes (18+), the vape store may get them to ask older friends or family to buy for them before or after school. “said Erika.
“It is a negative influence to have near schools.
Another student told Erika that most students start vaping because it is fashionable. They then became addicted to nicotine.
A single vape capsule for a JUUL e-cigarette is roughly equivalent to around 20 cigarettes.
Teen vaping research by health promotion agency Te Hiringa Hauora shows that the proportion of college students who have tried e-cigarettes has steadily increased.
A 2018 survey of 14- and 15-year-olds found 38% of college students had tried vaping, up from 29% two years earlier.
The main reasons teenage vapers smoke e-cigarettes are because they love flavors and enjoy vaping with their friends.
The same research found that Maori were twice as likely to be vapers as non-Maori.
Of the approximately 1,750 students in neighboring schools, about 65 percent of students identify as Maori.
Gisborne Boys and Girls’ High directors Jan Kumar and Andrew Turner said they like the fact that vaping helps smokers quit, but that doesn’t mean a vape shop should be right outside. so many students.
“There is very little parking at this site and the predominant pedestrian traffic is school-aged students,” they said.
“What clientele are they targeting? “
“Having a store near our schools is not helpful. This is a prime location to promote something that we are working hard to eliminate as a distraction for our students.
Directors said young people experience vaping because of its accessibility and become addicted in the process, impacting their health and learning.
“It is too early to understand the long-term impact of vaping on adolescent health.”
Gisborne District Councilor Meredith Akuhata-Brown agrees.
“We know that vaping has received this label, that it is less harmful than tobacco. And so, there is a push in the health space to get people to vape instead of smoking.
“However, in my opinion, we don’t have enough research to see what damage is done to the lungs.”
Vaping liquids have all the smells and tastes that appeal to young people. They are scented like lollipops and are understated and fashionable, attracting young people to try them, Cr Akuhata-Brown said.
“Now these stores are opening next to high schools. This will reverberate in the primary sector because what older siblings do, younger siblings usually want to try.
“I fear for the lungs of a generation.”
Cr Akuhata-Brown challenged the ethical and moral position of the owner of the vape store.
“Why would you choose to be in such a youth-centric space? Is that your only reason to be there? You are sending an unhealthy message.
“You want to make money and that’s the goal of your industry, but there are other spaces where you can open a point of sale.
“Please don’t open a store near two of our main high schools. . . send a strong message that you have a moral.
The owner of the building, Georg Winkler, told the Herald he knew the tenant would sell vaping products, but didn’t think the community would be very concerned.
“I looked at the pros and cons and saw that there was already a vaping store right there in the dairy (next to the store) and also another dairy a few hundred yards down the road.” , said Mr Winkler.
“It’s a national company with good controls and a reasoned approach, not a thug.
“I think it must be better than smoking.”
Mr Winkler said the company told him it would have a strict policy of not allowing uniformed students into the store and was considering closing during school hours.
The laws regarding the purchase of nicotine products were strict so that the students could not buy anything.
But it was open to the public for hearing.
“It’s good to hear other people’s perspective on this. I always like to do things well. This has always been my policy.
Mr. Winkler gave the Herald a contact number for the tenant.
The person who responded declined to comment and did not provide the name or contact details of the business owner.
However, a business research shows that Nelson Chamberlain owns Kolotex Limited. According to his LinkedIn profile, he owns Discount T, a national chain of tobacco retailers.
There are two Discount T stores in Gisborne, one in Kaiti Hub and the other on Gladstone Road.
Mr. Chamberlain made “no comment” when contacted by The Herald.
Too close for convenience: above, outside the soon to be opening vape shop near two high schools and a kura kaupapa are (left to right) Mayor Rehette Stoltz, Sumita Singh, Zoe Atsalis , Tiari Pepere, Sivera Peneha, Erika McKee, Emily Horne and Brodiee Henry. Photo by Liam Clayton