Vaping products are being displayed on counters among sweets and candy in some shops in Ashburton.
And more retailers are selling tobacco or e-vapes products in the Rangitata electoral district than those selling milk and bread, according to a new report carried out this month by Cancer Society Canterbury/West Coast.
Health advocates Carly McDowell (Community and Public Health) and Mandy Casey (Cancer Society) say many of those retail outlets are within 1km of a school and in low socio-economic areas.
The regional tobacco retailers report surveyed 567 retailers in the Christchurch and West Coast district; 113 were in the Rangitata electorate.
Of those Rangitata retailers, 68 sold milk and bread, but 89 sold tobacco, and 71 e-vapes. Types of retailers included dairies, gas stations, liquor/bottlestores, supermarkets and grocery suppliers.
At least one gas station in Ashburton does not sell tobacco and a few other retailers had a limited range.
Both women were keen for tighter regulation around the sale of vape products and were calling for them to be put in line with tobacco products, which had to be out of sight of customers, and especially children.
They also wanted district councils to have the same rules nationwide.
“Ashburton District Council is doing really well with its Smokefree regulations,” Mrs Casey said.
They had just made their smokefree designated areas vape-free too with signage due to be installed in the coming weeks. It includes the playground area of Ashburton Domain.
Currently there were no limits to how vape products were sold – except for no advertising – and it was up to the individual retailer where they were placed in their shops.
Supermarkets and garages have them locked up with tobacco, Mrs McDowell said.
But it was not the same for other retailers, many of whom had them on full display.
On top of vape-free regulations, the Cancer Society has an online petition under way to phase out the sale of tobacco and limiting where it can be sold. It closes on May 28.
Limiting the sale would save lives and help the country reach its goal of a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025.