Curbing youth vaping was top of mind for London’s medical officer of health on Tuesday as Dr. Chris Mackie attended a roundtable on the subject in Toronto at the invitation of Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott.
Joining Mackie were a number of other public health officials, including representatives from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, the Ontario Hospital Association and the Ontario Medical Association.
“The first thing we need to do is get rid of advertising for vaping,” Mackie told Global News in an interview following Tuesday’s roundtable.
The medical officer of health says advertising has become so pervasive that his 10-year-old is able to name two vaping companies.
“I had something even worse happen over the weekend,” he said. “My three-year-old daughter crawled under the kitchen table and said she was going to her vaping space.”
Mackie added that health officials also need to target the internet in their efforts to discourage youth from vaping.
“Youth are saying, for the most part, they’re getting their vaping materials online,” Mackie said.
Some websites that sell vaping materials ask users if they are over 19 before they’re allowed to access the website, he explained. All that’s needed to confirm a person is of age is for the user to respond yes, and then access to the website is allowed, Mackie said.
“There’s really no serious attempt to block minors from ordering online,” he said.
Mackie added that regulatory measures should be placed on online ordering, including requiring purchasers to present identification upon delivery of goods.
The roundtable comes one month after the first known Canadian case of a vaping-related illness was reported in London.
While nothing was set in stone from Tuesday’s roundtable, Mackie said he came away with a sense of optimism about how the health minister will handle the file.
“She seems very keen to take some steps that will curb the explosion of vaping in youth,” he said.