Vapefree Schools


Teaching about vaping can be treated like any other programme that focuses on reducing harm from the use of alcohol or other drugs.


Schools can respond to the rapid rise in vaping by including lessons about reducing harms from the use of vaping products. As a nicotine containing substance, treat vaping products much like any other substance that would be included in teaching and learning programmes focused on reducing harm from the use of alcohol and/or other drugs. That is, use the same sorts of activities that are used for learning about AoD, and swap AoD for vaping products.

Engage students in thinking critically about the ways they are currently being aggressively marketed to by the companies making these products. It would appear that without the marketing and deliberate design of many vaping products and merchandise as lifestyle products, that the issue would not have grown as quickly – if at all (given e-cigarettes have been around as smoking cessation aids for some time.)

- Excerpt with permission from The New Zealand Health Education Association’s article on vaping in the December 2019 issue of Hauora Matters.


This page offers some ideas for teaching and learning activities. These are not fully developed and teachers are directed to resources in Tūturu for details about the teaching and learning process.

The New Zealand Health Education Association have a helpful resource that covers alcohol and other drugs that can be applied to vaping called “Alcohol and other drugs. Health Education activities to support teaching and learning for Levels 4-8 in The New Zealand Curriculum”.

Tūturu have a useful resource called “The Marketing of: Energy drinks & vaping” that challenges students to think critically about advertising messages and other indirect methods of promoting vaping products and teaches them to respond in ways to promote wellbeing.

Check out Tūturu’s webinar on “How schools can respond to youth vaping - Tūturu”.


Here is an overview of ideas for teaching and learning about vaping for junior secondary school students or where a small amount of time is available.

What’s the health and wellbeing concern about vaping?

  • Use te whare tapa whā to unpack why the harms from vaping are cause for concern
  • Learn more about what vaping is and how a vape works, why they were first developed and how they differ from tobacco cigarettes.
  • What are the cultural implications of vaping products for indigenous people? How does this relate to how cigarettes were introduced to indigenous populations?

Why has vaping by young people increased?

  • Advertising of vaping products was banned in New Zealand from 25 November 2020. But before then, there was a lot of advertising. Analyse advertising online, on TV and radio, in dairies and service stations.
  • What does the imagery and the advertising messaging suggest about who these products are being marketed to, and for what purpose?
  • Why can young people get vapes, when it is an R18 product and it’s illegal to sell or give one to someone under 18?
  • Think about where vaping products are sold in dairies and supermarkets, and the placement of vaping product shops near schools and shopping areas. How do you balance the needs of smokers looking to quit by vaping, against children being able to see them?

What are the laws and regulations on vaping?

  • Use "The Facts of Vaping" website to find out about current New Zealand laws and regulations.
  • What are your school’s regulations?
  • How well are these current regulations known and enforced?
  • What’s your evidence for this?

What actions can we take to reduce harm?

  • Discuss things we can do personally. Our own values about substance use; our knowledge for managing stress and reducing harm; our own support for health and wellbeing.
  • Discuss things we can do interpersonally. How we communicate with and support friends and others.
  • Discuss things we can do as a community and society. Laws and policies; support systems; promotion of attitudes and practices that support wellbeing.
  • Critique ‘The Facts of Vaping’ website and its usefulness for young people in New Zealand.

What could be the consequences of the status quo?

  • What do students see will be the consequences for wellbeing if vaping products are used as lifestyle products and by non-smokers?


Here is an overview of ideas for teaching and learning about vaping for senior secondary school students or where more amount of time is available.

What’s the health and wellbeing concern about vaping?

  • Access up-to-date research from reputable online sources to check out myths about vaping harms and benefits, and what effects are supported by research.
  • Consider including information about the benefits of vaping as a way to help people stop smoking.
  • Review New Zealand and international data about the rates of vaping product use by young people.
  • Critique the New Zealand Ministry of Health statement about vaping in relation to the issues about young people.
  • Conduct your own school survey about the use of vaping products and students’ attitudes to vaping. Do they know what are in vapes? Do they know vapes are highly addictive? Why do they vape? Do they know people use vaping to quit smoking?

Why has vaping by young people increased?

  • Conduct critical thinking activities to investigate how vaping products are being marketed to young people. Check out the Tūturu resource about how marketing energy drinks and vaping products affects the wellbeing of young people.
  • Investigate who owns the companies producing vaping products. If sometimes it’s the tobacco companies, why are they producing vaping products?
  • Add to the school survey questions about vaping advertising. Where have they seen advertising? If they use vaping products, where do they get them from?

What are the laws and regulations on vaping?

  • Find out about the New Zealand laws for vaping.
  • How easy do you think it will be to reverse the trend of vaping among young people in New Zealand? Why?
  • Why can making new laws become complicated? Study ‘The Facts of Vaping’ website section on vaping law and policy and the variety of factors that need to be considered. Bear in mind that vaping can help people quit smoking and support New Zealand to becoming Smokefree in 2025.

What actions can we take to reduce harm?

  • Design, plan, and implement a health promotion process for your school that includes a range of activities involving all students, as well as specific support for some students.
  • Empower all students to take a stand against the use of vaping products (as lifestyle products) so they can take action personally and in relationships with others.

What could be the consequences of the status quo?

  • Think about the bigger picture of substance use and misuse. This includes all alcohol and other drug use.
  • Discuss why it is that communities or societies seldom manage to sustainably reduce (or eliminate completely) substance abuse issues?
  • Debate who is ‘at fault’. Individual people? The law? The people who produce and market alcohol and other drug products? Others?
  • Is the issue a legal matter, or a health and wellbeing matter?


As this is an evolving issue, check out the latest legal information on New Zealand websites and health-related information from reputable New Zealand and international websites, when including consideration of vaping in your teaching and learning programme.