Sweeping new changes coming to B.C. vape industry

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WatchCandy Crash, Lemon Tart, Peppermint and Mango. Those are some of the top selling vaping flavours in B.C. they are the ones teens prefer and that's a problem. more teens are taking up the habit every year leading the provincial government to crackdown on vaping, hitting the industry with new taxes, and new regulations. Mary Griffin is reports.

The marketing of vaping products in stores now rates them as a top tobacco product for teens and young adults.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says that there are 90,000 retail outlets, including gas stations and convenience stores, selling vaping products, including flavoured vape products that appeal to teens.

But as of Jan. 1, that’s going to end with a PST tax rate increasing from seven to 20 per cent, applied to all vaping devices, the substance or juice that is used with the vaping device and any vaping part or accessory.

New regulations will also restrict the amount of nictoine in vapour pods and liquid to 20mg/ml and will require plain packaging for vapour products that include health warnings.

And the province will enforce the crackdown with fines. The many changes coming to the province are a first in Canada.

“In a short number of years, vaping has shifted from a smoking cessation tool for adults to an addiction strap for our youth,” Dix said.

The province reports a 74 per cent increase in the number of teens vaping between 2017 and 2018. That’s why the BC government introduced sweeping new regulations on vaping products that target young people.

“Today is an announcement about keeping young people in communities healthy and safe,” Dix said.

Finance Minister Carole James said increasing taxes on vaping will curb behaviour because youth are particularly price sensitive.

“I’ll be introducing legislation this month in the next week on a new tax rate for vaping products,” James said.

The biggest selling vapour product popular with teens is JUUL.

Liam Harlow works at an adults-only vapour shop in Victoria, Simatech Vapour Shop.  “Very little vapour, but it’s highly concentrated. Lots of nicotine in there,” Liam Harlow, who works at an adults-only vapour shop in Victoria, Simatech Vapour Shop, said.  He agrees with the changes.

“I think it should be regulated completely. I don’t think minors should smoke at all,” Harlow said.

Reaction is positive from those who work in the health industry, including Jeff Sommer from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  “Vaping is becoming a gateway to tobacco use to smoking among youth in Canada. And that’s a real problem,” Sommer said.

“The regulations announced today are going to be the first of their kind in Canada. And that is so significant,” said Jenny Byford from the Canadian Cancer Society.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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