Health Canada has new measures to curb vaping by young people



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Health Canada says it plans to introduce new measures to contain the growing number of vaping by young people.

The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act already prohibits advertisements that appeal to young people, but Health Canada said it intends to enforce such rules, such as limiting the visibility of advertisements to young people.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has announced new measures on Tuesday, including:

  • A proposal for more advertising restrictions on vaping.
  • A new public education campaign aimed at young people.
  • Limits of places where ads can be placed.
  • Limits to the content of the ads.
  • Limits on displaying vaping products at certain retail locations.

The proposed rules would also require health warning messages in allowed ads.

"I am deeply concerned about recent reports that juvenile vaping is increasing," Petitpas Taylor said in a statement.

"This includes stories coming out of schools across Canada, and emerging data suggest that young Canadians are adopting vaping at an alarming rate."

There will be a 45-day public consultation period on proposed regulations.

Health Canada also plans to issue another consultation document in March to seek comment on new measures being considered to address and reverse recent trends in youth vaping. Some of these additional measures may include examining the role of flavors, nicotine concentration and product design in making vaping products appealing to young and non-smokers, "the department said.

The proposed regulations are needed and should be adopted as soon as possible and strengthened, said Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society.

"In particular, there should be a complete ban on electronic cigarette advertising on TV and radio," Cunningham said.

The suggested ban covers youth-oriented programming. Cunningham questions whether this includes NHL and professional football games.

"Because it's too late, it's going to be too little".

"They signal that they will ban advertising on social media platforms, and that's important," he said.

"Some companies are paying social media influencers to promote their brand in social media, where young people have a lot of access."

All provinces except Alberta and Saskatchewan have legislation on e-cigarettes. The Ontario government has weakened legislation to allow advertisements in convenience stores and gas stations, Cunningham said. He noted that the federal government has the power to prohibit the practice, as it does for cannabis advertising for medical and recreational uses.

The federal government is acknowledging that "we have a vaping crisis among our young people and are taking action to do something about it," said Neil Collishaw, director of research at Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. "However, there are some problems."

Collishaw is worried the new regulation would take two years or more, especially given the upcoming federal regulations.

"Well, there are two more years of exposing children to these ads and we are afraid that it will be too late, it will be too little. Instead, what we would like to see is for parliamentarians to come together and approve an amendment" – cigarettes more like tobacco products with bans on almost all advertising.

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