The B.C. government has introduced regulations meant to decrease vaping among young people in the province.
The regulations restrict the content, flavour, packaging, advertising and sale of vapour products in British Columbia.
The B.C health and education ministries will also establish a provincial youth advisory council to develop, pilot and launch youth-informed strategies to reduce vaping by young people.
The province’s vaping action plan was first announced in November 2019. The vaping action plan required B.C. to implement increased sales tax, which came into place on Jan. 1, 2020.
“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,” Minister of Health Adrian Dix said on Monday.
“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.”
The new E-Substances Regulation, under the Public Health Act, restricts the amount of nicotine in vapour pods and liquid to 20mg/ml, and requires retailers to sell only those vapour products that are plainly packaged and have labels with health warnings.
New retailers planning to sell vape products will need to comply with the regulation immediately. Existing vapour-product retailers will have until Sept. 15, 2020.
The regulation also immediately prohibits all retailers from selling non-nicotine or nicotine-cannabis blended vapour products.
Changes to the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Regulation ban advertising of vapour products in places where youth can access, hear or see advertisements, such as bus shelters or community parks. They also restrict the sale of flavoured vapour products, which are attractive to youth, to adult-only shops.
The provincial youth advisory council will start in September 2020.
“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,” Minister of Education Rob Fleming said. “That’s why we worked with students and health experts to find the best ways to reach British Columbia’s youth and their families for a campaign that will go a long way in promoting healthy choices for kids.”
Another item under the province’s vaping action plan includes a “youth-led anti-vaping social media campaign to de-normalize vaping.”
The government said young people throughout B.C. were consulted through regional youth advisory tables, to provide guidance for the “evaporate” campaign. The campaign was launched in February 2020, the campaign has so far garnered over 27 million digital impressions.
The province said it is also providing support to vapers who want help to quit through the quit-smoking service, QuitNow. QuitNow has been updated to include new quit-vaping information resources for youth and provides coaching by phone or text.