Earlier this week, the province announced strict regulations for vaping that came into effect immediately.
The regulations restrict the content, flavour, packaging, advertising, and sale of vapour products in B.C.
The new regulations will restrict the amount of nicotine in vapour pods and liquid to 20 milligrams/millilitre. It also requires retailers to sell only those vapour products that are 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 September 15.
The regulation immediately prohibits all retailers from selling non-nicotine or nicotine-cannabis blended vapour products.
Trish Hill, the Interior Health team leader for the Tobacco and Vaping Prevention and Control Program, said that they are thrilled with the regulations.
“We are thinking that this is a very positive piece of news for the health of young people in the province, particularly with regards to this very addictive substance in vaping, which is nicotine.”
Hill said that she is hopeful the plan with have an effect on youth in the Interior Health region, as it has one of the highest youth vaping rates.
“In the Interior Health region, a recent study showed that one in three youth reported using nicotine vapour products, and that’s amongst the highest youth in the province,” she said. “It’s been a really huge rise in the last few years, and I think that people struggle, youth find themselves addicted to products that have been marketed as harmless and fun and kind of novelty, and then they find themselves unable to stop easily. This regulation makes it easier to keep vaping products out of the hands of youth to start with.”
Some of the regulations match up with the European Union’s standards, which Hill says has done an excellent job controlling vaping among young people.
“We believe this is going to be successful and have a big impact on youth vaping because we are following the lead of other jurisdictions.”
Also, a part of the regulations is the banning of 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.
“I think that people have really been surprised that vaping companies have been allowed to advertise until now. On bus shelters, in train stations, and billboards, using those same tactics that the tobacco industry used decades ago to hook millions of people on cigarettes,” Hill said. “I am really pleased that advertising in places where youth congregate is no longer allowed, along with the limits on nicotine and with the restrictions on flavours.”
Other non-regulatory action under the province’s vaping action plan, includes a youth-led anti-vaping social media campaign to de-normalize vaping.
The province also provides support to vapers who want help to quit through the quit-smoking service, QuitNow.