Vancouver anti-nicotine group demands TransLink remove Vape advertisements

Click to play video 'Health groups call on TransLink to remove e-cigarette ads' Health groups call on TransLink to remove e-cigarette ads
WATCH: A health activist group is calling on TransLink to remove ads for e-cigarettes from SkyTrain stations. Catherine Urquhart reports. Today's Global News Hour at 6 Health Matters is brought to you by Pharmasave – Sep 24, 2019

A local anti-nicotine organization wants TransLink to immediately take down vape ads at SkyTrain stations.

Errol Povah, president of Airspace Action on Smoking and Health said little is known about vaping, and opposes any and all advertising of a product that has not been properly tested.

“It’s a free for all, they are advertising everywhere and anywhere, not even Health Canada knows the long term effects of it,” he said.

“It seems Health Canada has thrown the precautionary principle out the window.”

READ MORE: ‘Everyone is doing it, it’s cool’: B.C. students talk about the highs and lows of vaping

Vape ads are legal according to Health Canada and because TransLink is a public body, it can’t pick and choose who it sells ad space to, according to TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews.

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“We have to look back at the federal legislation which regulates advertising for tobacco products, so when these vape products became popular, Health Canada decided to regulate them in separate categories — tobacco one, vaping in the other,” she said.

“Vaping product advertising is legal according to Health Canada and because TransLink is a public body, we are bound to respect the charter of rights and freedoms. This means because the product is legal, we are unable to reject the ad.”

READ MORE: ‘Vape bans or buffer zones’: The call to regulate vaping the same way as cannabis

Errol blames Health Canada for moving too slowly and not doing enough to deal with concerns about the new products.

“Ultimately I’d like to see e-cigarettes banned entirely. I mean Walmart in the United States has voluntarily stopped selling e-cigarettes, President Donald Trump is on it,” said Povah.

“And here in Canada we’re forming committees. It’s as if Health Canada learned absolutely nothing from the tobacco experience. At the very least, the advertising be banned and e-cigarettes should only be available by prescription only.

In February, the federal government proposed new regulatory measures to further restrict vaping advertisements.

The proposed rules would restrict advertisements could be displayed to limit their availability to young people.