B.C. Liberal MLA Todd Stone has introduced legislation that would ban the sale of flavoured vape products.
The private members legislation introduced on Thursday would also limit the supply and accessibility of e-cigarette products through stricter retail controls, and restrict the sale of products to adult-only tobacco stores, vape stores and approved pharmacies.
“Vaping and e-cigarette use is quickly becoming an epidemic among the youth of British Columbia,” Stone said.
WATCH (aired Feb 27): Health organizations call for stricter rules on vaping
“Recent Canadian estimates suggest that a third of students in grades 10 through 12 are vaping, outpacing tobacco use at an alarming rate. By enticing youth with sugary flavouring, tobacco companies are lining their pocketbooks as a generation of kids succumb to nicotine addiction.
“It is baffling and simply dangerous that more is not happening immediately to quell this. Government needs to act on this now,” he added.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said he is happy to meet with Stone about the issue.
There have been growing concerns about the impact of vaping on teenagers. In February, Health Canada put forward new restrictions on advertising vaping products and e-cigarettes to minors, citing concerns about the products’ rising popularity among teens.
“There are significant health concerns around vaping that have been expressed in other jurisdictions. It’s an emerging issue,” Dix said.
“This is clearly an evolving area of law. We, as a legislature, addressed this area in 2016. This is not a criticism of the previous government, it’s just a fact. It may be that the regime that we set in place was not adequate to the circumstances. It’s an evolving circumstance. We were all in the legislature. We all spoke to it at that time.”
WATCH (aired Sept 27, 2016): Federal government to regulate vaping & major surgery increases complications for breast cancer patients
The rules put in place in 2016 created rules where e-cigarettes are treated the same as tobacco in B.C.
The regulations mean vaping is not allowed in workplaces or on parks or beaches. It is also not allowed in a car when someone under 16 years old is present.
At the time, the B.C. government said the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act was “designed to protect youth from the unknown effects of e-cigarette vapour and from becoming addicted to nicotine, which is why it treats e-cigarette use exactly the same as tobacco, with the same bans and restrictions.”
Dix says the B.C. government will be looking at better education campaigns around vaping and is pushing for those campaigns to be led by the teenagers themselves.
“There is some belief that these products are without risk and we need to make that clear,” Dix said.
“We need to act to provide better education. I believe that the most effective campaigns against tobacco have been led by youths. They need to understand risk and they need to talk to each other.”