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Province seeks 20% tax on vaping products after announcing restrictions to protect youth

Vapour product access, flavors, nicotine content, packaging, and advertising will all be restricted in BC come spring 2020.

The province made the announcement Thursday (Nov. 14)  to protect youth from risks associated with vaping.

In addition, Finance Minister Carole James says she will be introducing legislation this month on a new tax rate for vaping products.

She says if passed this legislation would increase the provincial sales tax that’s applied on vaping products from seven percent to twenty percent, and go into effect January 1, 2020.

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“Yes it is a big tax jump and one that really signifies the urgency of this problem,” James says. “We all know that youth are particularly price-sensitive, and so when you make a product more expensive and harder to access youth will decline. That’s why we’re going to work quickly to enact this legislation.”

James says if passed British Columbia would become the first province in Canada to apply a specific tax rate to vaping products. She says through the legislation they will also increase the tobacco tax rate on cigarettes and loose tobacco by two cents.

To date, there have been seven probable or confirmed cases of associated pulmonary illnesses reported in Canada due to vaping. Three of those cases are in BC.

“We don’t expect to be taking this alone,” says Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“We are optimistic and hopeful that the federal government will be taking action soon as well to bring it within their jurisdiction to support and enhance what we are doing in British Columbia. This is a ten-point plan based on the evidence and the hard work of the health authorities, our supporting groups and our staff at the Ministry of Health who have reached out to people over the last number of days, weeks, months and year.”

The new regulations according to a news release will restrict the amount of nicotine in vapour pods and liquid to 20mg/ml and will require plain packaging for vapour products that include health warnings. Public advertising of vapour products will also be restricted in areas where youth spend time, such as bus shelters or community parks. The sale of vapour flavours, other than tobacco flavours, will only be allowed in age-restricted shops. The regulations will be supported by a youth-led anti-vaping social media campaign to de-normalize vaping, and the Province’s quit-smoking resource, QuitNow, will be updated to include new quit-vaping resources for youth.

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