New rules could be on the way for those who smoke e-cigarettes, but not everybody in Saskatchewan is happy about them.
The federal government has proposed the tobacco and vaping products act, which would ban the sale of vaping products to youth under the age of 18. It would also prohibit the promotion of flavours, such as candy, that might appeal to youth.
The government said it’s trying to protect youth from developing nicotine addictions while still allowing adults to access vaping products that are likely less harmful alternatives to smoking.
Mike Smider, co-owner of Queen City Vapes in Regina, said the vaping industry was expecting age regulations, but some of the other new rules came as a surprise, particularly those concerning flavours.
“Anyone 18 and older that is a former smoker, current smoker or looking to start vaping, they’re not after the tobacco flavours or the plain-flavoured juices,” Smider said.
“They’re after flavours like your watermelon candies and pastries and desserts.”
About a quarter of youth between the ages of 15 to 19 have tried an e-cigarette, according to the 2015 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs survey.
The Canadian Cancer Society hopes these new rules will stop this number from growing, Donna Pasiechnik, Canadian Cancer Society’s tobacco control manager, said.
“Our biggest concern in Saskatchewan is that we have one of the highest youth smoking rates in the country. We don’t want young people using these products and being able to purchase these products. This federal bill addresses that,” she said.
“It’s really too early in the game to know what long-term health impact these products will have, whether kids will start using them and move to tobacco products when they become addicted to nicotine,” Pasiechnik said.
“Time will tell the true impact of these products.”
More steps still need to be taken at a provincial level, she said. Saskatchewan and Alberta are the only provinces that haven’t regulated electronic cigarettes and vaping.
“We would like to see the Saskatchewan government move to restrict vaping anywhere smoking is banned. Some municipalities have done that,” Pasiechnik said.
The proposed tobacco and vaping products act could create a regulatory authority that would require health warnings on vaping products. Part of the bill also includes implementing plain packaging for tobacco products.
The proposed bill was introduced into the Senate on Tuesday.