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Province implements vaping action plan

The province is taking further steps in its mission to reduce vaping among young people.

The NDP government is bringing into force regulations that will fully implement its vaping action plan that was announced last November.

The regulations restrict the content, flavour, packaging, advertising and sale of vapour products in B.C.

B.C.’s ministries of health and education will also establish a provincial youth advisory council to develop, pilot and launch youth-informed strategies to cut down on vaping by youths.

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Health minister Adrian Dix said they’ve 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.

“That’s why we are bringing in regulations to keep vapour products away from developing lungs and to prevent nicotine addiction,” Dix added.

“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.”

Provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said that providing young people in B.C. information about the risks of vaping while restricting the advertising and flavours used to make it attractive, “is an important step in stemming the use of this addictive and dangerous product.”

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“This approach mirrors the effective measures we used to reduce youth smoking, and continuing to work with youth on this action plan can ensure we protect a new generation from nicotine,” Dr. Henry added.

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 a short transition period until Sept. 15th.

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The regulation 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 launches this September, and will also monitor and evaluate the overall impact of the plan.

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“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,” said education minister Rob Fleming. “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.”

Other non-regulatory action under the Province’s vaping action plan, includes a youth-led anti-vaping social media campaign to de-normalize vaping. Youth throughout B.C. were engaged through regional youth advisory tables, to provide guidance for the “evaporate” campaign. Launched in February 2020, the campaign has so far garnered over 27 million digital impressions.

With provincial support, last year the BC Lung Association created and distributed a youth vaping prevention toolkit to all K-12 schools in B.C. 

The toolkit provides information for educators, parents and youth to use when having discussions and making choices about vaping.

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The province 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.

The action plan required the Province to implement increased sales tax, which was implemented on Jan. 1.

The province says that B.C.’s youth vaping action plan “is the most comprehensive plan in Canada to address vaping by youth. It focuses on stopping youth vaping while ensuring vaping can still be used as a harm reduction tool by adults.”

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