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Health Canada survey finds quarter of high school seniors have tried vaping

Click to play video: 'Young people vaping in Saskatchewan'
Young people vaping in Saskatchewan
WATCH ABOVE: Everyone knows the dangers of smoking cigarettes, but what about the dangers of electronic cigarettes? A new Health Canada survey shows young people across Canada are exploring vaping. But as Christa Da explains, there are no provincial regulations in place that cover the popular habit – Sep 15, 2016

A new Health Canada survey found more than a quarter of senior high school students have experimented with electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).

The survey – conducted between the 2014-15 school year – found 27 per cent of Canadian teens from Grades 10 to 12 have tried vaping.

The report surveyed over 43,000 students. It found close to half of students (47 per cent) found e-cigarettes “fairly easy” to get and almost a quarter (23 per cent) believed there to be “no harm” with the device.

Donna Pasiechnik with the Canadian Cancer Society Saskatchewan division said the numbers are very concerning.

“We already have a high rate of tobacco use in this province among kids, and we don’t want to see another generation of young people being addicted to nicotine,” Pasiechnik explained.

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Pasiechnik said the Canadian Cancer Society has been lobbying for change around e-cigarettes with no luck. She said Saskatchewan is lagging behind other provinces in implementing regulations around e-cigarettes.

“F, We gave them an F. We had a report card out in November. They have done nothing in this area,” she said.

“Eight other provinces have adopted regulations because of these concerns about the growing rate of use of e-cigs among kids.”

READ MORE: Health Minister taking “cautious” approach to vaping regulation

She said she is hoping the numbers will serve as a wake-up call to the province. The Canadian Cancer Society wants restrictions on minors purchasing e-cigarettes.

According to Queen City Vapes Mike Smider, he sees people of all age groups come into his vape shop. He said he never sells to minors.

“We will ID you if you look under 25, much like the smoking laws,” Smider explained.

According to Smider, it’s an unwritten code within the vaping industry to restrict the selling of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.

“Any respectable shop will deny a minor from purchasing,” he said.

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READ MORE: Smoking 2.0 – is vaping the new smoking?

According to Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province is monitoring Health Canada’s approach and research to e-cigarette regulations.

“A federal parliamentary committee has studied the potential risks/benefits of e-cigarettes and provided a report with recommendations to the federal government,” Dr.Shahab said in a statement.

“It is hoped that the federal government will respond to the report with any necessary actions.”

The province is not considering any legislation regarding e-cigarettes at this time.

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