Kate Hawkesby: Legislation will never stop a black market

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 28 Feb 2020, 10:03AM
Photo / File

Kate Hawkesby: Legislation will never stop a black market

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 28 Feb 2020, 10:03AM

The very week the government looks to legislate on vaping, guess what happens?

To serve as a reminder I guess that you can do whatever you want around legislating stuff, you’ll never control the black market. Or squash it, 12 to 13 year old school children are being approached in a busy shopping precinct in Auckland and if it’s happening in Auckland it’ll be happening in other cities too no doubt and they’re being offered ‘cheap’ vapes for sale.

Out of a woman’s bag. An Asian woman sifting the back alleys of Auckland’s Newmarket, is approaching young kids in school uniforms, and selling them vapes. I’ve heard about this from both school kids who’ve been approached, and from parents.

It’s a cash deal of course, and the seller’s got the juices too.

Some of the juices are 6 mg’s nicotine. For a kid. Whose never smoked, but is being offered a cheap vape and a juice with 6 milligrams of nicotine in it.

God knows where the vape juice or the vapes themselves are from, but kids don’t ask those kinds of questions.
They think it’s cool, they’re in a group, they’re under pressure, someone’s offering to sell them one ‘for cheap’ with no restrictions or age requirements or any questions asked.

So school kids are being direct marketed to, and they’re buying them.

They have no instructions on how to use them, some are hiding them from their parents in all sorts of creative ways, other parents have found them, but there’s no way of tracing where it was purchased or who sold it.

So what can you do about that?

Well, I doubt the Police are going to wander every back alley in every shopping precinct in this country asking people to empty their handbags in case they’re selling vapes.

I doubt educating these backdoor dealers will make a scrap of difference, telling them about new government rules around vape sales and what legislation will now mean, is probably of no interest to them. They couldn’t care a jot.

They have a nice little cash business no worries.

And they’ve got a captive market.

Yes the official marketing will change should this legislation go through, but you can’t stamp out the direct marketing to kids through social media, the influencers, or people stopping them on the street.

So although I think the legislation around vaping’s a good idea, it makes me wonder whether any amount of rules can change anything, when there’s black marketer's around hustling to kids, no questions asked.