Vapes are definitely on the naughty list this year.
What began as a seemingly innocuous alternative to smoking, quickly became a ubiquitous cultural trend before taking a nasty turn into the public health crisis it is today.
And following recent data that vape rates have doubled among teens, the Canadian government is announcing new measures to crack down on youth use.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu proposed Friday new regulations to ban advertising for vapes and related products anywhere young people can see or hear them — which turns out to be pretty much everywhere.
However — while a report from the U.S. National Institute of Health showed cannabis vape use among teens had starkly increased in the past year, and most of the associated lung illnesses are likely linked to illicit weed vapes — Health Canada’s statement focused on nicotine.
The first legal cannabis vapes hit Canadian stores this week.
According to the proposed regs, announced in a press release, marketing of vaping products would only be allowed in specialty shops, businesses and websites only accessible by adults.
To anyone who’s visited a legal cannabis website, the iron-clad defence introduced by age-pickers will be evident.
“We also know that many youth don’t think about vaping the way they think about smoking,” Health Canada said, alongside the news that new mandatory health warnings on vape product packaging are likely on the way.
Consider the consequences of vaping while jamming out to this bumpin’ dance tune and edgy video edits
Packaging will also have to be child-resistant and limits will be placed on nicotine content to ensure vaping products are not toxic if ingested.
The federal health authority also said it’s examining other measures to address flavour restrictions.
“These new measures will better protect youth from the harms of vaping and, with continued public education, reduce the appeal of vaping products,” it said.
More vape information from Health Canada
- The proposed regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on Dec. 21, 2019. The public comment period for these regulations will be open for 30 days.
- Public education continues: Health Canada has invested more than $9 million in a national public education campaign — Consider the Consequences of Vaping — which launched in December, 2018, to inform youth and their parents of the harms and risks of vaping. A recent evaluation of the advertising campaign found that 26 per cent of teens who reported having seen the ads decided not to try vaping as a result.
- Enforcement continues: between July and December 2019, Health Canada inspectors visited more than 3,000 specialty vape shops and convenience stores across the country, seizing more than 80,000 units of non-compliant vaping products. More than 80 per cent of the specialty vape shops inspected were found to be selling and promoting products illegally. The department has also taken action to shut down illegal promotions by major national brands this year.
- The new rules announced today, as well as public education and enforcement, are key given the vaping-related results of the 2018-19 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey. The survey results show that youth vaping rates have doubled over the last two years and that youth are vaping more frequently.
Top photo by Mike Mozart via Wikimedia Commons.