Vapefree Schools

Law on vaping

The Smokefree Environment and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendements Act 2020 prohibits vaping in schools, kura kaupapa, kōhanga reo and early childhood education and care centres. Displaying ‘No Vaping’ signage on every entrance is a legal requirement.

LAW AND REGULATIONS

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 (the Amendment Act) prohibits smoking and vaping in schools, kura kaupapa, kōhanga reo and early childhood education and care centres (including their grounds and buildings). This means they are smokefree and vapefree at all times. School management and boards must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that no person smokes or vapes in any part of the premises, whether inside or outside, at any time of day. This applies to everyone who comes onto the grounds, as well as in the buildings – for example parents and caregivers, teachers and kaiako, contractors and workers, students, or the community using the grounds at the weekend.

SIGNAGE

From 11 May 2021, schools, kura kaupapa, kōhanga reo and early childhood education and care centres must display notices stating that smoking and vaping within the premises is forbidden at all times. Notices must be prominently displayed at or immediately inside every entrance to the premises, and every entrance to every building or enclosed area on the premises, excluding buildings and areas not usually in use. These locations are the same as previously required for Smokefree notices under the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990. The 'No Vaping' notices are intended to be displayed along with existing 'No Smoking' notices. All schools, kura kaupapa, kōhanga reo and ECEs were sent ‘No Vaping’ stickers in May 2021. If you need more Smokefree and No Vaping resources, please order through the Smokefree website.

Compliance

The following checklist will aid you in checking your compliance:

  • Prominently display “No Vaping” signs at every entrance to the premises, and every outer entrance to every building.
  • Take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the families of your students and other visitors know about the new requirements, for example by talking to them or including a section in a newsletter.
  • Take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure other users of your site know about the new requirements, for example by including a vapefree statement in a contract or lease for those using, hiring or managing your grounds.
  • Think about reasonably practicable steps to take if someone does smoke or vape on site, for example a simple complaints procedure or action plan.

fines

The management of schools, kura kaupapa, kōhanga reo and early childhood education and care centres may be fined up to $4,000 for not complying with the Act.

policies

Individual schools, kura kaupapa, kōhanga reo and early childhood education and care centres can decide on whether or not to have a vaping policy. Most will already have a Smokefree policy, and find the easiest way is to amend this to include vaping. For an example of a Smokefree and Vapefree Policy click here.

As part of your policy, consider your school procedures and rules. While the law applies to school buildings and grounds, you may want to extend ‘No Vaping’ to include time when staff and students are off-site or on trips during school times.

Consultation on a draft policy and communication within the school are excellent ways to ensure buy-in and understand how vaping is perceived in your community. It may be that members of your parent and teacher community are vaping to quit smoking. Most years approximately 13% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s 480,000 smokers (New Zealand Health Survey, 2019) will quit or start a quit attempt. You can acknowledge this in your policy while ensuring that the school remains vapefree, and young people are protected from unintentional role-modelling. Read how vaping affects others