The B.C. government is restricting the sale of all flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores.
Sweeping new rules came into effect on Monday that are considered to be the country’s most comprehensive to reduce vape use in young people while still allowing adults to use it as a harm-reduction tool.
New retailers must only sell vaping pods or liquids with less than 20mg/ml of nicotine. Existing retailers have until Sept. 15, 2020, to sell off their existing stock.
Vapour products must also be plainly packaged and have labels with health warnings. Existing labelled product can be sold until Sept. 15.
Retailers are also immediately prohibited from selling non-nicotine or nicotine-cannabis blended vapour products.
“We heard from young people across the province that vaping companies are targeting them with a product that poses real and serious health and addiction risks,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.
“That’s why we are bringing in regulations to keep vapour products away from developing lungs and to prevent nicotine addiction. We know youth are eager to get involved in this action, and I’ve seen promising work through early youth engagement to help influence their peers and stop this dangerous trend of addiction.”
Advertising of vapour products is also banned in places that youth can access, hear or see advertisements, such as in bus shelters or parks.
The province originally announced the new regulations in November, to come into effect on March 31. That was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In October and November, three cases of vaping-related illnesses were reported in B.C.
Evidence is mounting that the health-related impacts, and number of youth who are addicted to nicotine, is on the rise, the province said. Vaping has also not been fully evaluated by Health Canada.
“Providing young people in B.C. information about the risks of vaping, while restricting the advertising and flavours used to make it attractive, is an important step in stemming the use of this addictive and dangerous product,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.
“This approach mirrors the effective measures we used to reduce youth smoking, and continuing to work with youth on this action plan can ensure we protect a new generation from nicotine.”
In B.C., around 6,000 vendors are permitted to sell tobacco products, compared to around 90,000 points of sale for vaping products.
Education Minister Rob Fleming also unveiled plans for a provincial youth advisory council, launching in September, to monitor and evaluate the overall impact of the changes.
“Schools are the perfect place to talk with young people about the negative effects vaping can have on their health and development, so they have the knowledge they need to make decisions about the use of nicotine and tobacco,” Fleming said.