Vape Stores Targeting Poor Communities in New ZealandArvin Peh
A study shows a correlation between poverty levels and the number of e-cigarette stores in New Zealand.
According to a report by 1news New Zealand on June 12th, research has found that in New Zealand, the higher the poverty level in a region, the more e-cigarette specialty stores it tends to have.
A survey revealed that the number of e-cigarette shops in New Zealand’s lowest income communities is nearly ten times that of the wealthiest communities.
For instance, there are eight electronic cigarette stores in a small shopping center located on Otahuhu Street in the southern part of Auckland, New Zealand, with two located right next to each other.
Health researcher Lucy Hardie, who has been studying the marketing strategies of the e-cigarette industry, said, “To some extent, this is not surprising, as I previously found in my research on alcohol sales points that the industry indeed targets these highly impoverished areas.
Lucy Hardy stated, “The industry may say, ‘Oh, this is where smokers are located. This is why we need to be present.’ But the fundamental question is, are they targeting only vulnerable groups or are they genuinely providing assistance?
A new study has mapped every retailer specializing in e-cigarettes across the country, examining which areas have the highest number of such shops. The researchers then compared this data to the socio-economic status of these regions, revealing a familiar pattern.
The poverty index at the University of Otago measures the socio-economic status of a region on a scale of 1 to 10.
Level 1 poverty represents the wealthiest communities. Across New Zealand, there are 22 electronic cigarette stores in these areas.
With the increase in demand, there has been a rise in the number of electronic cigarette stores.
The most impoverished area, classified as Level 10 poverty, has a total of 202 electronic cigarette stores.
Even when considering population factors, the data shows a clear correlation – New Zealand’s poorest communities have the highest concentration of electronic cigarette stores.
The electronic cigarette industry has stated that their products are intended as a smoking cessation tool for adults, and that shops are located based on the presence of smokers in the area.
Jonathan Devery, Chairman of the New Zealand Vaping Alliance, has stated that in order for electronic cigarettes to become an effective tool for quitting smoking, they need to be available in all locations that sell tobacco products. He emphasized the importance of accessibility in communities that are burdened with high health and economic costs caused by tobacco use.
Confirmation of concerns: Latest data reveals that vape shops are situated in areas with the lowest income residents.